Beds are being cut to balance WDMH budget

February 25, 2014, the Winchester District Memorial Hospital Board of Directors approved a plan to balance the hospital budget for the 2014/2015 fiscal year. Achieving this was more challenging than in years past since, for several years, government funding increases have been much less than increases in expenses.

“Caring for our patients is our number one priority,” notes Lisa Little, Board Chair. “This plan is the result of a collaborative process that involved staff, physicians, volunteers and Board members. Everyone worked together to identify opportunities and provide feedback.”

The plan contains four key elements. 

“We are pleased to report that none of these changes affect patient services and programs. In fact, WDMH is doing more surgeries, providing more cancer care, seeing more outpatients, and admitting more inpatients than ever before,” adds Lisa Little.

WDMH will permanently staff 12 beds on Complex Continuing Care (previously 17) and 25 beds on the Medical/Surgical Unit (previously 34). 

The ECU (Enhanced Care Unit) will also relocate to the second floor, adjacent to the Medical/Surgical Unit. 

“These changes reflect the number of inpatient beds that have been in continuous use over the past year,” notes Cholly Boland, CEO. “WDMH is actually admitting more inpatients than ever before. However, they are staying for less time due to advancements in the practice of medicine, new technologies and additional supports in the community.”

WDMH will be eliminating the equivalent of 9.5 full-time positions in nursing, housekeeping, food services and management. 

“The good news is that no one is losing their job,” adds Cholly Boland. “These changes will be achieved by not filling vacant positions and reducing some part-time hours.”

WDMH will raise the daily parking fee from $2 to $5, and raise the monthly fee from $20 to $25 (for staff and visitors). 

“The WDMH parking rates have remained the same for the past 14 years and WDMH has the lowest hospital parking rates in Eastern Ontario,” explains Cholly Boland. “Proceeds from parking fees are used to support patient care.” This change will take place in late spring.

Finally, a review of all supply budgets is underway. Supplies include almost anything purchased externally such as medical and surgical supplies, heat and electricity, linen and private patient transportation. “Currently, we spend more on supplies than most other similar hospitals and we want to improve that,” says Cholly Boland.

“We are committed to providing the same level of high-quality hospital care and will keep our local communities informed as these changes are implemented,” sums up Lisa Little.

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