Hospital to upgrade electrical system


The Deep River and District Hospital (DRDH) will use “much needed” infrastructure funding to upgrade the almost 50-year-old facility’s electrical system.

DRDH was one of five county hospitals to receive funding under the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund (HIRF) program.

129 hospitals receive funding to address infrastructure, including $50 million for COVID-19 and related projects.

In making the local announcement, MPP John Yakabuski said this funding will ensure Ontarians have access to dependable health care services.

“These improvements can make a big difference to a patient’s experience,” Yakabuski noted.

In Renfrew County, the biggest single benefactor will be the Pembroke Regional Hospital, which will get $2,171,034.

The Deep River and District Hospital will receive $925,360.

The Arnprior District Memorial Hospital will get $540,687; St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry’s Bay will receive $430,411; and Renfrew Victoria Hospital will get $410,000.

Yakabuski said ending the dilemma of hallway health care is a big priority for the government.

“This will require investments to increase capacity in hospital settings and to increase community supports to better care for patients who should not be in a hospital bed,” he said.

In a statement Thursday, DRDH noted that the HIRF was established in 1999 to assist hospitals in renewing their facilities.

“HIRF funding is for infrastructure renewal projects that extend the useful life of the facility or improve the facility’s quality or functionality, provided that such improvements do not result in an increase to the hospital’s approved operating funding base.

“HIRF funding may not be used to purchase medical equipment, support COVID-19 response, or support day-to-day operations.”

The hospital said that with this year’s HIRF funding, it will be working hard to replace “aged critical infrastructure to ensure the facility is able to meet the needs of our communities.”

“Specifically, the funding will be allocated to replace and upgrade the original electrical service and distribution.”

William Willard, the hospital’s vice-president of operations and chief financial officer, said that HIRF funding “allows our organization to make costly upgrades that may otherwise be delayed due to the growing financial pressures on health care organizations.”

“With the added financial pressures faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, this funding is welcomed so we can make these much needed upgrades to or facility without impacting our operating budget and existing cash flows.”

The hospital said it has been successful in their applications for funding under the HIRF program over the last several years.

In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, HIRF funding allowed for the replacement of the nurse call and fire panel systems throughout the facility, as well as expand areas that are serviced by emergency back-up power.

In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, HIRF funding allowed for the replacement of the hot water boilers.

In addition to continuing to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, completing this electrical system upgrade will become a top priority for the organization.

Richard Bedard, DRDH president and CEO, said that the funding approval is the result of “significant work by our senior leadership team over the past several months.”

“In addition to tirelessly working to protect our staff, patients, residents, and the community from COVID-19, our leadership team has been able to remain forward-thinking and ensure our organization has up-to-date infrastructure to continue to provide an excellent, compassionate health care experience for our communities.”

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