Niagara, ON - Beginning on May 12, 2008, the NHS will increase parking rates for patients, visitors, staff and physicians at its three large hospital sites as well as the Ontario Street Site to become more in line with what other hospitals are charging and to increase revenues to offset expenses.
Identifying additional revenue opportunities is part of the budget-setting process to increase revenues and is the first step the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has asked hospitals to explore in balancing their budgets. This requirement forms the basis of the new accountability agreements hospitals must sign in order to receive funding from the MOHLTC.
"NHS parking rates haven't changed in three years, and our parking rates are significantly lower than other hospitals," says Angela Zangari, Chief Financial Officer with the NHS. "We appreciate that we are impacting patients, visitors, staff and physicians, and we are trying to be sensitive to the cost pressures that our population in Niagara experiences. We rely on the few revenue streams we have to offset the impact of inflation and other factors on our budget, and we have to look at revenue generation as a means of funding our hospital services."
Beginning May 12, parking at the St. Catharines General, Greater Niagara General and Welland Hospital sites, as well as the Ontario Street Site, which is an ambulatory care centre, will increase to a maximum flat fee of $5.00 for 12 hours for patients and visitors from the current $4.50. Staff and physician parking will increase to $26 a month at all sites, up from $24 a month.
"We know every penny matters to the people who have to pay for parking at our sites. This is not something we like to do. It is something we can do to strike a balance between financial viability and providing quality health care," says Zangari. "Our aim in making this change is to be respectful of the population we serve while at the same time exercising the responsibility we have to look at where we can find revenue."