HIRF investments support rural health care

Eastern Ontario hospitals received an $11-million boost from the provincial government that will fund repairs and upgrades to provide patients with high-quality care.

 

The boost comes through the province’s Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund (HIRF) which was established in 1999 to assist hospital with renewal of their facilities.

The $11-million boost is aimed at strengthening and supporting rural health care in Eastern Ontario.

The funds will help hospitals make critical improvements to their facilities, including upgrades or replacements to roofs, windows, heating and air conditioning systems, fire alarms and back-up generators.

“These repairs and upgrades are crucial to ensuring all patients get the help they need now and in the future. By upgrading our hospitals’ infrastructure, we are helping Ontarians get the best health care close to home,” said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, in a press release.

A total of 15 hospitals received a portion of the Eastern Ontario HIRF investment.

Locally, Pembroke Regional Hospital (PRH) received $865,614; Deep River and District Hospital was allotted $1,015,626; St. Francis Memorial Hospital was provided with $1,970,308 and Renfrew Victoria Hospital received $2,723,946.

“On an annual basis, we as hospitals have been getting an allocation of HIRF funding to keep our facilities in good shape. So with this year’s announcement, we’re very pleased to get over $865,000 for the renewal of our aging facilities,” said Pierre Noel, president and CEO of the PRH.

Noel shared that the funds would be going towards improving PRH’s basic infrastructure, by updating boilers, windows and other assets based on their condition.

“The types of things that we’d be using this money for are not the most glamorous of things like buying an MRI or new operating room equipment. This is more for items like boilers and windows and elevators, those are the things we evaluate and apply this money towards,” said Noel. “This is very much appreciated funding to keep our building up-to-date and safe, and we’d otherwise struggle to keep our building in the good condition that it is.”

Randy Penney, who serves as the chief executive officer for both St. Francis Memorial Hospital and Renfrew Victoria Hospital, shared similar comments on his end.

“For one of the big projects in Renfrew, it will be the replacement of our boilers. We have three boilers and almost $1.5-million of the funds on the Renfrew site will be going towards boiler replacement. In Barry’s Bay, a significant portion of the dollars will be going to an electrical upgrade,” said Penney.

The 2017 balanced Budget includes a new $7-billion booster shot to health care, building on the commitment made in the 2016 Budget. This investment will improve access to care, expand mental health and addiction services, and enhance the experience and recovery of patients.

Ontario is increasing access to care, reducing wait times and improving the patient experience through its Patients First Action Plan for Health Care and OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare – protecting health care today and into the future.

As part of the 2017 Budget, Ontario is also spending an additional $9 billion to support the construction of new hospital projects across the province. This brings Ontario’s total planned investment in hospital infrastructure to more than $20 billion over the next 10 years.

cip@postmedia.com 

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