President and CEO of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital Dr. Barry Guppy presented a delegation about the capital care program to Smiths Falls council at a committee of the whole meeting on Monday, Nov. 25.
The hospital is asking the town of Smiths Falls to contribute $174,341 to the capital care program in 2020. It is the same amount the town gave to the program for 2019.
The hospital is one of 20 medium-sized hospitals in Ontario and sponsors four community services.
“There are more services for a hospital this size than I expected,” Dr. Guppy said.
The Ministry of Health does not cover funding for buying new hospital equipment. It is expected that the community will raise the money.
“The capital core program is an attempt to help fill this gap, find deficiencies and find new revenue opportunities,” Dr. Guppy said.
The three main areas the core capital program supports is the hospital information system, funding medical equipment and supporting the needs of new physicians to the area.
“Family doctors are the principle group we’re actively recruiting now,” Dr. Guppy said. “We don’t want patients to have to drive to get something that they can do here.”
When asked what would happen if the hospital did not receive the funding Dr. Guppy said he would have to make some “hard choices” including “increasing our long-term debt.”
The hospital is annually losing $1.6 million per year.
CT scans cost upwards of $1.2 million.
“The municipality of Smiths Falls has a history of supporting the hospital,” Councillor Jay Brennan said. “We realize the importance of the institution to the people. We have to figure out how we’re going to do this and that’s our budget issue but I think it’s a no brainer.”
“What is our role on an ongoing basis?” Councillor Peter McKenna asked council. “How do municipalities have a voice in the direction of where healthcare is going?”