Significant changes to Ontario’s healthcare funding formula have meant hospitals in the province are struggling to manage their operational budgets. Health System Funding Reform is making it much harder to determine how much revenue hospitals can expect from the province. Coupled with funding held at a zero percent increase for the past three years, there is a major effort to reduce hospitals’ operational budgets, which historically rose by about 3 percent each year.
At Baycrest Health Sciences, which focuses on geriatric care, education and research, the impact of the new funding formula has been particularly severe. With a patient population consisting entirely of seniors, many of whom have expensive-to-treat complex medical conditions and an average of nine co-morbidities, the funding model has proven to unfairly impact its budget allocation.
After two years of across-the-board cuts totaling 3 percent per year, Baycrest opted for more strategic efficiency initiatives for the 2014-15 fiscal year. This involved refocusing the organization’s strategic direction on specific avenues of geriatric care, education and research, seeking new sources of revenue and making strategic reductions in the size of the workforce.
Communicating the changes, and creating a consistent cross-organizational understanding of the budget issues, was identified as a high priority for the marketing and communications department. Through an existing staff Opinion Panel, administered monthly in both digital and hard copy formats, it was determined that only 64% of employees felt informed or very informed about the financial challenges, the budget process, and the opportunities for the future.
Given employee preference for newsletters—as measured in an April 2013 Opinion Panel survey, which saw 83% of respondents indicate newsletters were their preferred communication vehicle—a brand new publication was conceived to focus specifically on the financial strengthening process, using a plain-language,...
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