Southlake Regional Health Center faces $9.55M deficit

The hospital reflects positively on year of achievements in the annual report, but says the funding gap remains an ongoing issue

Southlake Regional Health Center remains optimistic about its past year despite ongoing fiscal challenges that include an approximately $9.55-million deficit.

The fiscal numbers were released as part of its 2022-23 annual report July 13. The report highlighted many of the hospital’s successes but showed a gap between expenses and funding in the hospital’s $555-million budget for the year.

After having a slight surplus in 2021-22, treasurer Diana Brouwer reported that the loss of one-time funding put the hospital back in a deficit spot. Still, Brouwer said the deficit was better than budgeted for.

“The last fiscal year was another challenging one as the hospital entered the new norms post COVID-19 pandemic, as there was, and continues to be, disruption to hospital volumes, staffing resources, revenues, expenses and cash-flows,” Brouwer said in a June treasurer’s report, adding that another significant deficit is likely next year without further funding. “The hospital continues to have significant funding gaps.”

The annual report comes following the hospital board’s June AGM and addresses the hospital’s actions over the past year, plus its financial position. Despite the challenges, the report highlighted many of the improvements and initiatives the hospital has seen, including a new mental health unit, a new partnership for cancer care, and fundraising initiatives from the Southlake Foundation and other partners, among others. It also highlighted achievements like being named a top 10 hospital in Ontario by Newsweek.

“In the face of ongoing challenges, Southlake’s dedicated team of staff, nurses and physicians made tremendous progress this year toward achieving our ultimate goal of building healthy communities through outstanding care,” a message from Southlake’s board chairs and CEOs in the annual report said.

The organization is looking ahead to the hospital’s centennial in 2024, as well as efforts to plan out a second hospital location.

Brouwer said the hospital continues to work with the ministry and is reviewing operational improvements to eliminate the structural deficit in the coming years. Southlake has faced financial challenges and deficits for several years.

“The board is acutely aware of the quality, financial, and people impacts that will need to be carefully managed and monitored as we head to another year with financial and operational uncertainty and complexity,” Brouwer said.

The board chairs said Southlake has achieved a lot working in half the space required by today’s standards.

“Imagine what we could do in a brand new facility,” the annual report said. “It’s this exciting plan for the future — as well as the generosity of our donors — that drives us. Supporting the communities’ need for leading-edge care , close to home, will remain our focus for the year ahead as we celebrate 100 years of delivering health care at Southlake.”

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