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Hospital upgrades at LaVerendrye awarded grant funding

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The Ontario government has injected $108,379 into Riverside Healthcare, to upgrade its facilities.

Riverside has been awarded an Exceptional Circumstance Project (ECP) grant as part of the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund (HIRF) program. The funds are earmarked to replace two roof mounted air handling units and to upgrade the Honeywell digital ventilation control system, all at LaVerendrye General Hospital. The Honeywell system automates and integrates the ventilation controls across all hospital sites, and gives plant staff enhanced monitoring abilities.

The HIRF was first established in 1999, to assist hospitals with facility renewal and upgrades. In addition to Riverside's funding, the Lake of the Woods District Hospital in Kenora will receive $316,999 and the Dryden Regional Health Centre will receive $147,767. The fund will see a total of $175 million, provided to 129 hospitals across the province, including $50 million for COVID-19 related and other urgent projects.

“Our government will continue to prioritize the health of northwestern Ontarians as we respond to COVID-19, through the support of our health care facilities,” said Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora–Rainy River. “This investment in hospital infrastructure across Kenora–Rainy River will greatly enhance the safety and comfort of patients, staff, and families while they receive or provide expert care. Northerners often need to travel great distances to our hospitals, and through this funding we are ensuring that, once arrived, they are able to receive services in safe, comfortable facilities.”

The HIRF is intended for infrastructure upgrades and maintenance, not covered by regular renewal budgets. This year, the HIRF has been redesigned to integrate with the Facility Condition Assessment Program, to help target funds towards the highest priority projects, according to the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). The province's LHINs are responsible for dispersing the funds to hospitals in its jurisdiction.

“Riverside’s focus always remains the delivery of quality health care to our communities. Health Infrastructure Renewal Funding supports critical infrastructure upgrades and repairs at our hospital locations. In these challenging times, this funding is especially important,” said Henry Gauthier, President & CEO of Riverside Health Care in Fort Frances. "Our team at Riverside appreciates this infrastructure funding that demonstrates the government’s commitment to health care across the Rainy River District, and enables the continued delivery of quality care to our patients.”

The Dryden Regional Health Centre will be using its share of the funds to upgrade and maintain hot water heating pumps and boilers, and upgrade its master medical air system.

“Projects like these that are more behind the scene and perhaps a bit less glamorous are equally as important to the operations of the hospital, the comfort of our patients, and our ability to provide quality care,” said Doreen Armstrong-Ross, CEO of the Dryden Regional Health Centre.

Lake of the Woods District Hospital in Kenora plans to use its funding to “renovate space for supporting expansion of Dialysis services at our site, a critical need for Dialysis patients we serve, as well as other infrastructure changes of urgent need in our aging facility,” said Ray Racette, President & CEO of Lake of the Woods District Hospital.

As the government continues to work toward bringing Ontario's world class health care system into the 21st century, this funding will help hospitals address urgent issues such as upgrades or replacement of roofs, windows, security systems, backup generators and fire alarms, stated a press release from the province. Projects will also support the hospitals in their ongoing response to COVID-19, such as updating HVAC systems to enhance patient and staff safety, creating additional isolation space and negative air pressure flow rooms to increase capacity and enhancing infection prevention and control measures, it said.

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