The Blue Mountains council would like to see options for a health care funding policy after receiving a request for financial support from the Meaford Hospital Foundation.
Amelda FitzPatrick, foundation executive director, was a delegation at council’s meeting on Sept. 18 and asked that the town consider making a financial commitment to the foundation.
The hospital foundation raises money for capital purchases at the Meaford Hospital. Provincial funding covers operating costs for the hospital, but capital equipment is paid for by money raised in the community.
FitzPatrick said since 1996, the Town of The Blue Mountains has contributed $308,000 to the foundation. In 2020, the town’s five-year commitment of $25,000 annually to the foundation came to an end.
FitzPatrick said the hospital has continuing capital needs. Meaford Hospital is looking to add a CT scanner and enlarge its emergency department. In addition, Brightshores Health System (the hospital corporation that governs Meaford and five other sites, including Owen Sound) will be launching a campaign for a new MRI machine in Owen Sound.
“It’s a very exciting time,” said FitzPatrick.
The hospital continues to see patient demands growing and usage is up across the board.
“There is a lot more pressure on the hospital to provide care,” she said.
FitzPatrick said since 2021, hospital visits from residents of The Blue Mountains have grown by 22 per cent. She asked that the town think about bringing back an annual contribution to the foundation.
In response to the presentation, council directed staff to include a one-year commitment of $25,000 in the 2024 budget deliberations. Council also asked for a staff report about options for implementing a policy on health care funding moving forward.