Essex County commits to funding for new mega-hospital

 

 

Dave Cooke, co-chair of the planning and services steering committee, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare president and CEO Janice Kaffer and Windsor Regional Hospital president and CEO David Musyj address Essex County council last Wednesday night. County council unanimously agreed to fund a portion of the $200 million needed for its share of the new mega-hospital costs.

Dave Cooke, co-chair of the planning and services steering committee, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare president and CEO Janice Kaffer and Windsor Regional Hospital president and CEO David Musyj address Essex County council last Wednesday night. County council unanimously agreed to fund a portion of the $200 million needed for its share of the new mega-hospital costs.

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex County council has formally agreed to do its part to help fund the new mega-hospital.

County council agreed to fund part of the $200 million share necessary to build the $2 billion project. The Ontario government will fund 90 per cent of the project.

The acute care hospital is proposed for the corner of County Road 42 and Concession 9, just east of Windsor Airport. A four-storey urgent care facility is proposed for the former Grace Hospital site while a mental health clinic and chronic disease management facility will be developed where Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette campus is now.

The Tayfour campus would house a new 60-bed acute mental health wing as well as on-site dialysis and an expansion of diagnostic imaging services. Windsor Regional Hospital’s Metropolitan campus would be taken down and the site swapped with the city of Windsor as part of a deal for the former Grace site.

The county and city still have to hash out a deal as to what share of the $200 million each will pay with hospital officials expected to approach city council in the new year with a similar funding request.

Having the province pick up 90 per cent of the tab for a new mega-hospital and health care system is an offer local officials need to jump on, said Windsor Regional Hospital president and CEO David Musyj.

“We have to look hard and take advantage of this opportunity,” Musyj told county council.

A new hospital would cost less than updating the existing facilities, he said, and the new hospital would also have 500 rooms to start, with 80 per cent of them being private. That compares to only 20 per cent of the rooms being private in the current system. More private rooms is better for patients and improves the ability to control infections, he said.

There will also be a fundraising component that will help lessen levies from both the city and county for the hospital, Musyj added. However, without a commitment from the city and county, it would likely kill the project.
“If the levies are not supported, we’re not doing anything,” said Musyj.

Dave Cooke, co-chair of the planning and services steering committee, said it will be a hospital for the entire region.

“We want the community to feel ownership of this facility,” he said. “We need the new hospital. We know the two facilities we have need work.”

The $200 million needs to be raised over ten years but the money is not due until three months before the hospital is ready to be occupied. With the levies from both Windsor and Essex County councils, Musyj believes that will put pressure on the province to give its approval.

“We’re still at the ‘if and when’ stage – if we’re going to have a project and when we’re going to have a project,” said Musyj, adding a decision as to whether the project moves to a second of five phases is expected in early 2016.

Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo questioned whether a simple yes from the county is suitable or whether the province would actually need to see money coming in. Musyj indicated motions from both the county and city indicating support should carry weight with the Ontario government.

Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara didn’t believe there was much choice but to support the project, noting it’s for future generations.

“It’s about our grandkids and everyone behind us,” said McNamara. “We’ll find a way in order for us to get the job done.”

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya said they didn’t come this far to bail out of the project, calling it a “no brainer.”

If it is approved, the new mega-hospital will be 1.6-1.8 million square feet and would create 1,100 jobs at the peak of construction, Musyj indicated. The $200 million being requested from the city and county would go towards the actual construction of the mega-hospital.

Comments are closed.