ARH to benefit from $1.7M in funding

Arnprior hospital to benefit from $1.7M from province

Arnprior Chronicle-Guide
By Derek Dunn
Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It represents the largest funding allocation to Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) since the redevelopment of the emergency department six years ago.

Arnprior District Memorial Hospital will receive almost $1.7 million from the provincial government, it was announced late last week. ARH president and CEO Eric Hanna said the capital-focused money would be used to replace and upgrade building equipment that ultimately benefits patients.

“With these investments we are able to provide a greater patient comfort through new heating and ventilation systems, increase the safety of our premises with the electrical upgrades and reduce the costs to heat our hospital,” Hanna said. “It’s really good news and I’m glad to see it is the largest investment since the ER redevelopment.”

Much of the hospital was built in the 1960s and 1970s, so requires expected replacements. The $1.692 million will go toward new boilers, electrical upgrades, asbestos removal and a new roof.

“It’s really good news and I’m glad to see it is the largest investment since the ER redevelopment.” Eric Hanna

ARH set the infrastructure improvement cost at $5.5 million. This latest announcement, along with last year’s almost $600,000, brings the total still needed down to about $3.2 million.

“We appreciate the funding provided by the ministry of health as these funds ensure we are able to continue to allocate some of other financial resources to much needed medical equipment,” he added. “We are raising money now for X-ray equipment.”

The money is part of an announcement of $3.8 million for repairs and upgrades to Renfrew county hospitals, including $441,319 to Renfrew’s Victoria Hospital. Arnprior’s allotment was more than double that of the hospital given the second most, Pembroke’s Regional Hospital at about $692,000.

Hanna said the government used to base the funding on need, which gave the largest hospitals in the largest population centres far more money then those in small towns. A new formula has been worked out, so smaller hospitals with significant needs will get more attention.

“Clearly they have been able to make adjustments in the methodology.”

Hanna has yet to find out if a ranking system exists detailing the neediest hospitals in Eastern Ontario.

Asked about staffing needs, Hanna said turnover remains low at below two per cent, and two new physicians and one locum have arrived (to offset those retiring).

He said the biggest issue facing ARH is a lack of beds at The Grove Nursing Home. The provincial average is 88 beds per 1,000 people over the age of 75. Arnprior is operating at 42.

Talks will resume with elected and ministry officials in the coming weeks to see about an expansion at the nursing home.

The province will spend nearly $134 billion this year. It vows to eliminate the $5 billion deficit by 2018, although it will also add $30 billion to the debt, which will sit at $296 billion. Interest payments account for one-third of all spending.