The Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare Board has ended up with a balanced budget for 2017-2018. That makes six balanced budgets in the last seven years.

On top of that, there’s also a modest surplus from last year. That surplus, worth about $200,000, came about through the MAHC’s efforts to overcome a $4.6 million deficit. Outgoing Board Chair Evelyn Brown says it wasn’t easy to get that surplus:

Brown says some unexpected funding helped them get back in the black:

That additional funding amounted to over $3 million from the provincial government, $740,000 in increased patient-related revenues, and approximately $735,000 in cost savings. Brown’s two-year run as chair comes to an end tonight at the MAHC’s Annual General Meeting. She says she likes to think her time as chair has been a good one:

Photo of Evelyn Brown from the MAHC website

The board has also approved a $79.5 million operating budget for this year. That currently includes a $2.5 million shortfall which, it says, is because of the current funding formula. Incoming Board Chair Phil Matthews calls it a “status-quo budget” that maintains existing programs, services, and staffing despite “growing financial pressures.”

The budget also addresses things like the rising costs of energy, drugs, supplies, new requirements and regulations for quality care and safety, and the maintenance costs of supporting two ageing buildings. The Ministry has pledged more money to the MAHC this year. Beyond the initial $750,000 announced in the 2018 Ontario budget, MAHC is receiving a further $1 million in base funding and about $700,000 in surge bed funding to help address cost pressures and reduce the budgeted 2018-2019 deficit.

With files from Doug Crosse