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Kawartha Lakes to consider hospital funding request during budget process

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The Ross Memorial Hospital is hoping the City of Kawartha Lakes will provide the local hospital with financial support, as it continues to modernize and work towards adapting to a changing population.

At a special council meeting, on Tuesday, June 29th, hospital representatives pitched a holistic approach to adapting the hospital to fit these needs.

“Instead of a piecemeal approach, we believe it’s time to invest in a complete plan [which] takes healthcare in this community to an entirely new level. Not only replacing integral pieces of diagnostic and patient care equipment but bringing the entire hospital to a fully integrated, advanced level of technology. Which encompasses all aspects of care, and meets the gold standard in modern healthcare,” read a letter from the hospital’s CEO Kelly Isfan, included in the council agenda.

One of the ways the hospital is changing is by launching a new Clinical Information System called EPIC.

“It will help us attract and retain those valuable physicians and healthcare workers. As young people come out of school, no one is interested in working in a paper-based environment anymore. So, to keep attracting people, we need tools like EPIC,” Ms. Isfan said, noting testing and procedural results will be uploaded to this system in real-time.

When a patient is transferred to a different hospital nearby, those other hospital clinicians will have access to the patient’s EPIC chart information.

The hospital is also looking to replace MRI and CT scanners and to invest in upgraded healthcare equipment.

Erin Coons, the Ross Memorial Hospital Foundation CEO, explained why it’s important for the municipality to invest in the local hospital.

“Our population is rapidly expanding, and we need to remain competitive with other cities who are investing in their local hospitals. The pandemic has shown the urgency of accelerating both technology and other tools for more connected healthcare. The province does not fund equipment. And thus, we respectfully request council consider the information and the hospital’s request for financial support, during the upcoming 2022 budget deliberations,” she said.

Ward 3 Councillor Doug Elmslie stated, the municipality has supported the hospital over the years, and he feels “that should continue.”

Council later voted to discuss the funding request during the municipality’s 2022 budget deliberations.

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