Leader of the Ontario NDP, Andrea Horwath, is condemning the recent funding clawback at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital.

The Lake of the Woods District Hospital is currently facing a deficit of $706,119, with just one month left in their fiscal year. They say that the reason for the deficit is the slide of Quality Based Procedure volumes for both Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Cancer Care Ontario funded procedures, as well as clawbacks from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. At the beginning of February, the hospital was projecting a balanced budget, before the ministry clawbacks.

Horwath says that after decades of cuts and under-funding to hospital care, the last thing northwestern Ontario families need is the Liberal government clawing back hundreds of thousands of dollars from Kenora’s hospital.

“For years, this Liberal government has starved hospitals of the funding they need – and they’re still at it,” said Horwath, questioning the Wynne Liberals at Queen’s Park. “Instead of funding every hospital properly, we’ve learned that the premier is actually clawing money back from Kenora’s hospital. At the beginning of February, Lake of the Woods District Hospital was projecting a balanced budget. Now, after the clawbacks from this government, they’re facing a huge deficit. Every time this government cuts hospital funding, patients pay the price – with longer wait times and even more overcrowding. That’s the last thing that northwestern Ontario needs.”

President and CEO of the hospital, Mark Balcaen, spoke about the clawback and the deficit that his hospital is now facing.

“It is a substantial clawback. We’re working on this. We do have hope that there will be some additional funding coming through. It’s not that we’re spending more, it’s that we’re getting substantially less revenue coming in. We’re hoping that this will be addressed by the end of the fiscal year,” he said. 

Horwath says that with the Liberals clawing back critical hospital funding and the Conservatives pledging to cut at least $6.1 billion in jobs and services, northwestern Ontario families need a change for the better.

“Instead of fixing the problems and funding our hospitals properly, we find out that the Liberals are cutting funding for this crucial hospital and making it harder for the people of Northwestern Ontario to get the health care they need.”

“Why is this government cutting funding for Kenora’s hospital, when every hospital in Ontario needs more investment, not less? Why won’t this government stop the hospital cuts – and stop cutting funding for Kenora’s hospital?” asked Horwath.

The Lake of the Woods District Hospital is hoping to be designated as a small hospital this year by the province. Small hospitals have previously seen one to two per cent funding increases each year, where medium and large hospitals have seen their budgets freeze or have seen slight decreases.

The province has recently changed what a small, medium and large hospital is defined as. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has changed the number of weighted-cases needed from 2,700 to 4,000. Ten hospitals throughout the province are set to change into the small category under the new definition, which should include the LWDH Hospital – as they fit within the 2,700 to 4,000 weighted-case range.

For more information:
Hospital facing sizable deficit

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