I have received extraordinary and insightful feedback after my last All Users about UHN's efforts to balance this year's budget. These efforts, coordinated by our SVPs, are designed to ensure that we balance this fiscal year (FY) and that we are positioned to balance our budget in FY 2016-17. I am committed to keeping everyone informed and this message will update you on our activities and the timelines that our teams are working towards:

  • As everyone is aware, we are taking all areas back to budgeted activity. This means that we will be reducing unbudgeted activity, beds and OR slots. In doing so, we need to balance these reductions in unbudgeted services in a manner that will allow us to continue to meet our funded activity commitments. Part of this plan will involve reducing elective OR activity over the holiday period and in some areas these OR reductions will be continued into the beginning of January.
  • Beginning January 11 we will stop the routine use of off-service bed spacing. As a consequence, we anticipate that the number of admitted patients being held in the Emergency Departments (EDs) may increase.  In preparation for this, and to ensure that our patients and staff are safe at all times, we will be finalizing escalation protocols to address the number of admitted patients in the EDs and communicating them broadly. We will also be working with the EDs to ensure that we have optimized staffing within the Emergency Departments.
  • We are working with external agencies and all units at UHN to expedite placement of Alternative Level of Care (ALC) patients. This work with external agencies will be critical to transition patients appropriately and free up existing capacity to care for the patients who have acute medical needs that require access to acute care beds. We are also looking at the possibility of cohorting ALC patients while they are awaiting placement in order to better meet the less acute needs of these patients in a dedicated and appropriately resourced environment.

The people of UHN are our most valuable asset and we will do everything possible to ensure that job loss is minimized and where possible job loss will be managed on a voluntary basis. We will do this by implementing a hiring freeze immediately with exceptions approved by the respective VPs and SVPs. Leaders will be working to reduce agency use and overtime. We will continue to utilize the Nursing Resource Team and other strategies so that we can keep our people while reducing our overall costs. We will also be looking across the organization for ways to reduce utilization of imaging and lab services and spending in non-clinical areas.

I know that UHN is resilient and we have been through challenging times before. We will pull together now, as we always have. The community that we serve continues to depend and to count on us for the incredible care that we provide. Together with the Ministry of Long Term Health and Toronto Central LHIN, we share a commitment to this community. My sincere thanks for everything that you do and for your support.


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