Health unit seeking funding increase
By Chad Ingram
Published March 7, 2017
The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit is looking for a boost to its base funding from the provincial government, as well as the municipalities it serves.
“With no provincial increase to its base budget since 2014, the local health unit is asking the province and its funding municipalities for a two per cent increase this year to help offset rising operational costs,” reads a media release from the health unit.
At a Feb. 16 meeting, the health unit’s board approved the 2017 budget of approximately $16.2 million. That budget included a two per cent increase in the funding it receives from the province and each of its funding municipalities – Haliburton County, the City of Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland County – as well as one-time funding from the province of just less than $180,000.
Seventy-two per cent of the health unit’s budget comes from the province, 28 per cent from the municipalities it serves.
With the smallest population of the three municipalities, Haliburton County pays the smallest municipal apportionment, at just less than 10 per cent of the municipal funding. The two per cent increase the health unit its requesting has been included in the county’s 2017 draft budget, with funding to the health unit in the amount of $405,000 for the year.
The City of Kawartha Lakes would pay approximately $1.7 million, or about 42 per cent of the municipal apportionment, and Northumberland County about $2 million, or 48 per cent of the municipal apportionment.
“If we do not receive any increase from the province, we will not be seeking any additional money from the obligated municipalities, and will continue to implement changes to our budget to address the shortfall,” the health unit’s director of corporate services Mary Catherine Masciangelo told the board at the Feb. 16 meeting.
Among budget highlights is a negotiated 1.5 per cent salary increase for health unit employees; a 1.5 per cent increase in insurance costs; $24,000 in dental consultation support following the departure of the director of dental services; $10,000 for infection prevention and control; and a one-time investment of $25,000 for an inspection database for the environmental health program.
According to the release, the health unit has been undertaking measures to decrease its operating costs, including leaving staff positions vacant after people retire or resign. Two such positions were left vacant in 2016.
The 2017 budget also includes what the health unit is calling a voluntary separation program, which offers a financial incentive of up to $100,000 for non-union and management staff who choose to resign or retire.
Ten health unit employees made the provincial sunshine list in 2016, with salaries ranging from the manager of clinical services at $106,000 to the health unit’s medical officer of health at just less than $300,000.