You have to pity the hospital administrator this year. Not knowing how much money they are expecting to receive from the provincial government, they are expected to sign extensions to their accountability agreements with the Local Health Integration Networks. This is the second year the LHINs have called for extensions rather than sign new accountability agreements.
Last year hospitals were expected to provide a risk report – stating what would happen if they received no base increase in funding, a one per cent increase, and a two per cent increase.
This year they appear to be going through the exercise again, only this year they called the risk report the “gap based planning submission,” affectionately known as the GAPS (even though the acronym doesn’t quite spell that).
Based on a zero per cent funding assumption, the South East LHIN is recommending that five of seven hospitals in their region receive waivers exempting them from balancing their budgets in 2011-12.
While Quinte Health Care and Lennox-Addington County General Hospital project balanced budgets under this scenario, Kingston Hotel Dieu, Kingston General Hospital, Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, Providence Care and Brockville General are expected to slip into the red.
This year two of these hospitals are expected to finish 2010-11 in deficit. Kingston General is expected to be $2.9 million in the hole, while Perth and Smiths Falls will be close to half a million dollars in deficit.
If the provincial government does freeze funding, the region’s hospitals collectively will run up $5.9 million of new debt.
Total funding for the five hospitals is more than $670 million.
The SE LHIN will be meeting to amend the accountability agreements on March 28.