SBGHC delays passing new budget

The board of directors for the South Bruce Grey Health Centre is waiting to adopt a budget for the new fiscal year.

The board had planned to vote on the $46 million proposed budget during Wednesday’s monthly meeting, however, the item was removed from the agenda because the provincial government has not yet announced how much funding will be provided for the fiscal year, which began on April 1.

President and CEO Michael Barrett said the proposed budget assumes a 1 per cent funding increase from the province, but they can’t move forward until they know for sure.

“It’s an assumption based on previous years, increases that small hospitals received, so I think 1 per cent [increase] is probably a fair assumption to make,” said Barrett. “And if it wasn’t 1 per cent, if it was higher or lower, then it wouldn’t be much more than that, so we can make the adjustments as we go through the year.”

The hospital was forced to dip into reserves to cover an unexpected deficit of more than $1-million at the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, but Barrett said they expect to be back at a balanced position in 2019-2020 after crafting a budget recovery plan to address the deficit.

Barrett said the hospital corporation expects to cut an additional $900,000 in spending, but declined to go into detail until the budget is approved by the board.

“Because the amount of revenue, new revenue, that we have coming in won’t keep pace with the additional expenses that we have, staffing costs, pharmacy costs, utilities are all higher than the revenue that it’s coming in at,” said Barrett. “Which means that we still have to find efficiencies this fiscal year.”