There have been reports of overcrowding at the Northumberland Hills Hospital. Even though the Hospital’s capacity is 137 beds, up until now it has only been funded for a base of 96 and through surge funding up to 104. But in April, there were an average of 121 patients and 118 in May. With insufficient funding, that meant there was not enough staff or rooms so there were beds in hallways and long wait times. But today, MPP David Piccini announced that Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) will receive an additional $1,003,504 in base funding per year and up to $335,940 in one-time funding. Hospital CEO Linda Davis said “these new dollars will help prevent us from having to house patients in hallways or unconventional spaces because beds are not available”. She said that the additional ongoing basic funding will mean that more staff can be hired.
In her remarks at the announcement, CEO Linda Davis expressed appreciation for the interest that MPP David Piccini has shown in the hospital and in his remarks, David said that his Government understands the importance of Healthcare, that front line Health care workers are important and that NHH was an asset and a gem for the community.
The announcement at the Hospital on Thursday morning followed soon after the release of the Hospital’s Annual report which included some interesting statistics.
NHH Annual Report highlights
Because of cost management, the Hospital actually came in with a net surplus of $730K although quality suffered because of the funding shortfall.
Tom McLean, Chair of the Board’s Finance and Audit Committee said that “Anticipating the need for future investment in a transformational Clinical Information System (or CIS), the Board has set aside $500,000 from the surplus for this investment. “
The Hospital’s total revenue is $76,000,860 with the majority (65%) coming from the Province. Expenses came to $75,267,518 with the largest portion (54%) being wages, salaries and benefits. There are 667 staff – 294 full-time and 373 part-time.
Separately, the Hospital Foundation provided NHH with $3.1 million for capital needs that the government does not fund.
There were 4,402 admissions, 33,748 visits to the Emergency Department, 583 births, 5,116 Surgical cases, 65,979 Diagnostic Imaging Exams, 7,364 Dialysis Visits, 8,349 Chemotherapy Visits …. (for more statistics see full report at link below).
There a total of 408 Volunteers in multiple roles including 325 NHH Auxiliary volunteers. Their fundraising activities resulted in a donation to the Hospital of $200K.
Emergency Department Wait Times
Times it takes to complete the surgery, exam or visit for nine out of 10 patients. From graphs in Annual reports. Note that “High Acuity” means patients who need lots of care.
|High Acuity||Low Acuity|
In a news release accompanying the Annual Report, CEO Linda Davis said:
“Over the past year the volume of patients requiring admission at NHH has grown and, at the same time, the shortage of long-term care beds and home care resources has resulted in a number of patients needing to remain in hospital even though they no longer require acute care. Throughout the past year the number of NHH beds occupied by patients in this category commonly referred to as requiring Alternate Level of Care, or ALC, averaged around 25% of all NHH beds. The ALC volumes and the increase in patients requiring acute care admission have combined to create the highest recorded inpatient volumes since the hospital opened in 2003…”
That points to the ongoing problem of the need for more accommodation other than that provided by the Hospital.