Health Minister pushes back on claims MUHC is underfunded
Published Friday, May 19, 2017 7:13PM EDT
The Health Minister is disagreeing with claims that the MUHC is underfunded.
Seven foundations at the MUHC called on Gaetan Barrette this week, asking him to meet with the McGill University Health Centre to stabilize funding.
The foundations raise funds for research and medical equipment, and they say that the Health Ministry is making changes to the multiple hospitals in the MUHC by cutting off funds.
This week the interim executive director of the MUHC, Martine Alfonso, said that lack of funding is why the hospitals are not functioning at full capacity.
"What we have, its a funding at 85 percent of the budget of occupancy which is slightly less than we did before the transformation, which was at the height of 91 percent," said Alfonso.
That 'transformation' is the move of the Royal Victoria Hospital to its new location in the Glen Yards.
However Barrette said the 85 percent figure cited by Alfonso is an artificial "construct."
"Take for example the 85 percent of beds. It does not exist, it's not true, so you have me in front of you telling you it's not true and you have some people on the other side saying, well, we believe it's true," Barrette said.
He added that there is no significant difference between the overall funding given to the MUHC and the CHUM.
"Overall it's comparable. And I said, very slightly there is more funding at MUHC, but it's so slight it's not significant. But the point I wanted to make was in terms of funding it is equivalent between two hospitals," said Barrette.
He did not provide specific figures about how much is given to each hospital.
The arguments about how much funding should be going to hospitals, and what that funding is for, have been going on for years.
Barrette has said repeatedly that the management team at the hospitals has made poor decisions.
The foundations are worried that changes to the boards that oversee health care in the western half of the island of Montreal could affect the MUHC.
Last year the CIUSSS West Island and the West-Central CIUSSS began discussing how to create a supersized health board, including merging with the MUHC.
That's an idea that Barrette is willing to support, but says he would never impose.
"If someone comes up with an idea of merging, conglomerating, whatever, okay. If it comes from them, I'm ready to analyze it, appreciate it, think, reflect on it. But it has to come from them. I have said and I still say that those ideas do have merit. They do have merit. But I will not impose anything on anybody. How clearer can I be?" said Barrette.
Meanwhile the Quebec Community Groups Network put out a statement Friday saying it felt the MUHC managers have done a poor job.
"The leadership vacuum, we believe, has been there for a number of years and it has come to a boiling point, a crisis point, and I guess rather than stay back we did decide to weigh in," said Sylvia Martin-Laforge.
It is calling on all parties to sit down and talk it out.
"We felt that it was much bigger than Montreal. The MUHC is an institution of Montreal but it is very important to all English community speaking members across the province," said Martin-Laforge.
The foundations would also like all stakeholders to discuss the future of the MUHC and the CIUSSS boards.
The MUHC had no comment.