Dorset health hub gets permanent funding
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | April 26, 2018
The humble health hub that thought it could - has.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and LongTerm Care (MOHLTC) has now guaranteed permanent base funding for the Dorset Health Hub, effective April 1.
Collin Reaney, of the Dorset Community Partnership Fund, a charity, confirmed the news this week.
“We were challenged with a three-year demonstration project, where we had to show need, demand and also demonstrate community support,” Reaney said in a Tuesday interview with The Highlander.
He said the ministry has been a partner up to now, paying for two staff, a nurse practitioner and an administrative assistant. The difference, he said, is the funding is “forever ... as long as you continue to serve the public, you have base funding for a nurse practitioner and an admin. assistant. “This puts us in a better position as the charity to go out and raise money for our end.”
The MOHLTC has never, and will not in future, fund the entire hub. The charity has raised $1.3M to date. They built and equipped the hub and fund a third staff member, a registered practical nurse. Reaney said they need to raise approximately $140,000-a-year. He estimates the ministry contributes between $220,000-$250,000 per year. Other Haliburton County partners in the initiative are the Township of Algonquin Highlands (AH). The charity chases grants as well.
The hub now has 450 patients, evenly split between Haliburton County and the District of Muskoka. AH Coun. Brian Lynch called the news “pretty significant” but he did add “we wanted more money than that because the model that is funded is two staff members and we found that a three staff member model worked better.”
He said there has to be two staff in the hub or it is forced to close. Lynch said the charity has also raised money for additional programs, such as diabetes prevention, and for extra summer hours. He said they are also paying for community outreach programs, including making home visits and taking blood. Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott was pleased to hear the Liberals had listened and put the funding in place on an annual basis.
“I think it’s great. The communty saw the need. And while it sounded to me like a stretch when they first started, ‘what will the MOHLTC think of it?’ it makes sense
to have those rural clinics. It saves going to emergency rooms, especially when the summer population comes.
“Good on the community for raising the money, good on the Muskoka area for joining in and leading the fight for it. We supported it from the beginning and I’m quite pleased it obviously got results and the ministry is taking it over. Good on all the local people. It is a local initiative that proved itself to be worthy of bringing in the MOHLTC which is not an easy feat.”
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.