London hospitals receive $17.3m to help offset COVID-19 expenses

London hospitals will receive $17.3 million in provincial funding to help with pandemic-related expenses.

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London hospitals will receive $17.3 million in provincial funding to help with pandemic-related expenses.

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London Health Sciences Center will receive about $14.9 million and St. Joseph’s Health Care London about $2.46 million, the Ontario government announced Friday.

The LHSC will use its share to mitigate the costs of additional intensive care beds and other medical equipment, including ventilators.

“The funding will be well used to support some of the augmented service delivery that we have had to undertake during the pandemic,” LHSC President Jackie Schleifer Taylor said Friday.

“We will thoughtfully assess the full costs and work with the government to close this gap that no one could have foreseen at the start of the pandemic.”

LHSC’s budget from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 was approximately $1.3 billion while St. Joseph’s was $508 million.

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Jackie Schleifer Taylor, President and CEO of London Health Sciences Centre, left, Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, and Phyllis Retty, Chair of the LHSC Board, pose at Victoria Hospital of the LHSC after McNaughton announced that the LHSC would receive nearly $15 million from the province to help cover pandemic-related costs.  (Supplied/LHSC)
Jackie Schleifer Taylor, President and CEO of London Health Sciences Centre, left, Monte McNaughton, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, and Phyllis Retty, Chair of the LHSC Board, pose at Victoria Hospital of the LHSC after McNaughton announced that the LHSC would receive nearly $15 million from the province to help cover pandemic-related costs. (Supplied/LHSC)

During the first weeks of the pandemic, and using their own budgets, LHSC and St. Joseph’s Health Care London equipped their joint laboratory with the equipment needed to process COVID-19 tests.

The pathology and laboratory medicine program has undergone additional expansions and upgrades to increase testing capacity at several times during the pandemic.

The LHSC has also increased its virtual care efforts and launched a COVID-19 outpatient clinic during the pandemic, while increasing critical care bed capacity.

Hospitals not only faced extra expenses during the pandemic, but also hit parking and food and beverage revenue due to visitor restrictions, Schleifer Taylor said.

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance will receive approximately $2.3 millionFour Counties Health Services in Newbury $112,948 and Strathroy Middlesex General $471,343, Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington $630,302, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor $1.09 million and Windsor Regional Hospital approximately $5.32 million.

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“We have been working with hospitals over the past few months to determine, per hospital, how much money they need,” said Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton.

The LHSC reported 38 COVID-19 patients on Friday, with five or fewer in intensive care. Of the 38 patients, 15 are being treated for COVID-19. The others have tested positive but are hospitalized for other reasons.

COVID-19 hospitalizations at LHSC are a far cry from the peak of the Omicron wave in January, when the hospital had more than 160 positive patients.

“While there is some uncertainty as to what the next year will bring, we are beginning to embark on our journey to recovery,” said Schleifer Taylor.

“This means increasing our surgical capacity and tackling our backlog, reinvigorating our teaching and academic mission, and integrating our pandemic response into our regular operations.”

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