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The Ottawa Hospital adjusts spending to balance its 2015-16 budget

May 28, 2015 — Today, The Ottawa Hospital is announcing its plans to reduce costs by a further $12 million to complete the 2015-2016 budget balancing process. In March the hospital identified the need for $26 million in savings, or 2.4 per cent of its $1.082 billion budget (The Ottawa Hospital adjusts spending to balance its 2015-16 budget)

Health System Funding Reform

The Ontario government is transitioning healthcare dollars to where patients need their care delivered through Health System Funding Reform. While significant investments are being made in the delivery of community-based healthcare, hospital budgets have been frozen for 4 years.  As a result, The Ottawa Hospital is faced with a funding gap at the start of each fiscal year as inflation and negotiated salary increases for employees, continue to rise every year.

Affected positions

To address this shift in funding, the hospital is moving away from some out-patient therapeutic services that are not part of its core mandate and should be delivered in the community.  Of the 87.96  full-time equivalent positions initially affected, 25.83 are vacant positions that will be eliminated. The net numbers of affected positions that are currently staffed include:

  • 13.56 full-time equivalents in unionized administrative and support services
  • 32.57  full-time equivalents in other health professionals ( physiotherapy, clinical nutrition, social work)
  • 3  full-time equivalents in nursing
  • 13  full-time equivalents in non-unionized administrative positions.

All acute care hospitals in Ontario continue to face challenges as they adapt to the 2012 provincial funding reform. Additional TOH positions could be identified before March 31, 2006.

The Ottawa Hospital is aligned with the Ontario government in its efforts to ensure that care beyond the scope of TOH’s mandate be delivered in the community. The hospital must focus on providing acute and highly specialized care (e.g. cancer, trauma and cardiac) that only it can deliver and can no longer deliver care that patients should receive in the community.

In keeping with the language of the hospital’s collective agreements, layoff notices will be issued to unionized staff. In the support service areas, these notices do not necessarily mean employees will leave the hospital. Rather, affected employees may be redeployed to other parts of the hospital, or offered early-retirement or voluntary-exit packages. TOH will work closely with its union partners to minimize the number of involuntary departures.

Higher quality at less cost

Patient surveys and correspondence show that their overall experience at the hospital has improved over the last 3 years despite reduced annual spending.  Additionally, a recent Canadian Institute for Healthcare Information (CIHI) report card found TOH is a Canadian leader  in rescuing patients from life-threatening injuries or illnesses.  Patients treated for stroke have some of the lowest mortality rates and best survival outcomes in Ontario. The rate of C. difficile infections has decreased significantly.

The future of hospital funding

In the coming years, a greater share of the hospital’s annual budget will be determined by how well we contain costs and spend limited health-care dollars compared with other Ontario hospitals of similar size and mandate. In particular, the new funding model directs hospitals to look within specific clinical programs for ways to deliver higher quality care at less cost.

Media Contact:
Hazel Harding
Communications Advisor
The Ottawa Hospital
T: 613-737-8460