‘We need to ensure that our hospitals remain viable and are there for people long after COVID-19 has been beaten’
Ontario is investing $1.2 billion to help Ontario's public hospitals recover from financial pressures created and worsened by COVID-19.
“Hospitals have been at the centre of the pandemic from day one providing excellent care for our sick and vulnerable, and responding to the various outbreaks without hesitation,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Clearly, this additional care comes at a cost, so as a government we must step up and support them. We need to ensure that our hospitals remain viable and are there for people long after COVID-19 has been beaten.”
From the funding, $696.6 million is to be allocated for help cover historic working funds deficits for qualifying public hospitals. The focus will be on small, medium, specialty and rehabilitation hospitals that carry a large fiscal strain due to their unique situations and historical funding challenges.
The other $572.3 million will be used to reimburse qualifying hospitals portions of loss from other forms of revenue, such as co-payments for private rooms and the reduction of retail services.
“Ontario's hospitals have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and our government is using every tool at our disposal to support them during these unprecedented times,” said Christine Elliott, deputy premier and minister of health. “This funding will ensure Ontario's hospitals can continue to provide high-quality care to all Ontarians as we work together to stop the spread of this virus.”
Ontario is investing $18 billion over the next 10 years in hospital infrastructure projects across Ontario that will lead to $27 billion in capital investments.
Previously, the federal government and Nova Scotia announced a $19.1 million investment for six projects that will renovate and rehabilitate several hospitals and medical facilities in the province to improve COVID-19 safety measures.
In January, Ontario provided up to $125 million to immediately add over 500 critical care and high-intensity medicine beds to hospitals in areas with high rates of COVID-19 transmission.
The government said that a portion of the funding was also to be used to temporarily transition Mackenzie Health's Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital into a systemwide resource, supporting the province's COVID-19 response.
Also, as part of the province’s $2.8 billion fall preparedness plan, the government has invested $283.7 million to assist the health system’s ongoing efforts to reduce surgery backlogs, and $457.5 million to ensure that the health system is prepared to respond to any waves or surges of COVID-19 without interrupting routine health services.
Ontario Health Teams are helping to maintain hospital capacity by coordinating programs that link hospitals, primary care, home and community care services, long-term care homes, congregate settings and other services. They are also supporting virtual care, online appointment booking and patients' digital access to their health information.