Tag: Ottawa

B.C. and Ottawa announce $733M in federal health funding for province’s seniors – BC News

British Columbia and Ottawa have announced $733 million in new federal funding over the next five years to improve health care for the province’s seniors.

The funds will help expand home and community care, improve access to palliative and end-of-life services and improve the quality of long-term care.

Federal Health Minister Mark Holland said it is the first agreement on aging with dignity in the country.

“We have an aging population, but we have to rise and meet that challenge,” he said during a news conference Monday.

Holland said he has been working “very closely” with his B.C. counterpart, Adrian Dix.

“We see a strengthening of the safety and quality of long-term care generally in this agreement, and improvement to the quality of dementia care, increased access to palliative end-of-life care to people outside of hospitals, to personalize care, and to make sure there’s greater oversight,” he said.

The announcement by Holland and Dix in Vancouver marks the second major bilateral health funding deal between the two governments in four months.

It builds on a $1.2-billion deal announced in October that aims to improve how health information is collected, shared and used. A plan to streamline foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals was also announced.

Dix told the news conference that the province is working to improve the health-care system, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a big impact on seniors.

He said there’s been a

Ottawa Public Health discontinues COVID-19 dashboard

A newer, broader respiratory infections dashboard includes information about COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

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Ottawa Public Health has taken to social media this week to calm some peoples’ concerns about the fact that, after almost four years, it is discontinuing its weekly COVID-19 dashboard, which contains statistics about deaths, hospitalizations, outbreaks from COVID-19 and more online.

OPH says it will stop updating the standalone COVID-19 dashboard in the coming weeks, in part because of the cost as COVID-19 funding ends and, in part, because it is redundant. The information has already been moved to a new dashboard that tracks a broader range of respiratory illness information.

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Ottawa County Health Department sees highest staff turnover in 10 years

OTTAWA COUNTY — Nearly 30 employees left the Ottawa County Health Department in 2023, the highest average of permanent employees in a decade, according to newly released data.

Health officials compiled the information and disclosed it to county commissioners after Deputy Health Officer Marcia Mansaray and Health Planning and Promotion Manager Lisa Uganski alerted the Health and Human Services Committee in December the department was struggling to fill open positions.

Adeline Hambley has been the health officer in Ottawa County since December 2022.

“Staffing capacity, hiring and retention issues were being experienced this calendar year in a way we haven’t experienced in previous years,” Mansaray said Dec. 5. “Staff turnover this year is higher in 2023 than in any previous year since 2013.”

At the meeting, Commissioners Gretchen Cosby and Allison Miedema asked Mansaray for data.

“It sounds like you’ve tracked since 2013 the turnover rate for the health department,” Cosby said. “Are we able to get a look at that, would that be something you would provide to the board of commissioners?”

Commissioner Gretchen Cosby sits during public comment  Tuesday, June 27, 2023, at the Ottawa County Offices in West Olive.

This week, Mansaray provided those answers, disclosing that 28 people left last year, more than 20% of all full-time employees in the department.

At the Dec. 5 meeting, Mansaray said the department previously saw an average of eight employee separations between 2015 and 2020. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is defined as 2020-2023 for the numbers provided, the highest number of separations was 35 in 2022 — which, at the time, only accounted for 13.6 percent of total full-time employees.

Ottawa County Health Department full-time employee separations for 2013-2023.

Mansaray defined “separations” as those who quit, retired or were fired from employment.

In a Jan. 3 email to the commissioners, Mansaray explained that of the 28, 21 were staff who left permanent positions — 15 quit, five retired and one was fired. Much institutional knowledge was lost, Mansaray said. The remaining seven positions were grant-funded and eliminated

HILL: Smith government must stand up to Ottawa to fix health care

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According to a recent report commissioned by the Smith government, there are several ways the province can improve Alberta’s health-care system. But for fundamental change, Alberta must stand up to Ottawa.

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Deputy health administrator says Ottawa Co. Health Dept. feeling budget cuts

WEST OLIVE, Mich. — The Ottawa County Health Department provided some insight into its latest struggles after commissioners made some budget cuts.

At Tuesday’s Health Human Services Committee meeting, the deputy health officer outlined staffing capacity, hiring and retention issues the department hasn’t experienced in ten years.

Deputy Health Administrator Marcia Mansaray explained that 25 people separated from the department this year, including six who were let go when COVID-19 grants weren’t renewed. She adds the department has 12 full-time positions sitting open. At the meeting, she explained one position had six people lined up for an interview, but only one showed up.

Additionally, Mansaray said the services they offer are also being affected. She told commissioners food inspections for schools are being reduced. The deputy health administrator says schools are only receiving one inspection, rather than the usual two per year. The health department also tracks where they are on well and septic permits. Mansaray says they’re three weeks out. Currently, they’re working to respond to 30 permits, compared to the typical 15.

“Canary in the coal mine,” Mansaray warned. “We don’t like people waiting for those because they are connected to development and real estate sales.”

The county health department also presented a draft proposal to add funding to health education. The department sent commissioners a request of $121,000 to have a full-time health educator work as the Ottawa Food Coordinator. County documents show this request came after the county cut to health education and nutrition by 48% for FY24.

Mansaray told commissioners they had a conversation with County Administrator John Gibbs and Deputy Administrator Ben Wetmore about the need for this position.

Last month, Wetmore gave the board “Ottawa Food— Just the Facts.” In the presentation, Wetmore explained to the board members, “The Ottawa Food program is

Aging in Place: Ministry of Health boosts supports for Ottawa seniors

The Ontario Ministry of Health has allocated more than one million dollars to bolster support services for seniors, extending a lifeline to more than 1,000 additional residents within Ottawa Community Housing.

Among those directly impacted is Barbara Campbell, an eight-year tenant in Ottawa Community Housing, who relies on the Aging in Place program.

“Aging in Place is invaluable to us,” says Campbell. “Active tenants such as myself can have a resource where we can say, let’s go and talk to KerryAnne, and she can help you get set up with the ride to the doctor or whatever other services they might need.”

The program provides a vital resource for essential services, including medical appointments and transportation. They also provide foot care for those who are less mobile or flexible.

KerryAnne Muir, an Aging in Place outreach coordinator says, “I help them discover the existing resources within the city.”

From helping fill out forms, to emergency Meals on Wheels services, the ultimate goal of this program is to enable seniors to continue residing in the comfort of their homes.

“It’s the most phenomenal thing. I can’t even explain how good it makes me feel to help people that really need it, deserve it, and they’ve done so much for the community themselves. I’m just happy to give back in some way,” says Muir.

Now, with the commitment from the Ontario Ministry of Health, this program will expand its reach from 11 to 19 locations, benefiting even more seniors in the Ottawa area.

“It offers social service supports so that seniors can live independently longer. The goal of the program is to reduce the unnecessary use of the emergency room and to delay the onset of long-term care,” explained Jennifer Lalonde, Executive Director

Ottawa Co. administrator defends health department budget cuts

OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Ottawa County Administrator John Gibbs defended proposed cuts to the health department with the clock ticking before the budget deadline.

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing Tuesday on the proposed $263 million 2024 budget. The meeting lasted more than five hours.

One Allendale resident who spoke is a member of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, working in its Crisis Standards of Care committee.

“I want to implore you to consider their expertise, their training, their heart and the impact this has on the very people that when you become sick you turn to for care,” the woman said to commissioners.

Some public commenters cited a new letter sent to commissioners signed by more than 100 area physicians. They urged the board not to reduce the health department’s budget.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed a chronic underfunding of the infrastructure of public health as part of our local healthcare system,” they wrote. “Our goal should not be to return to this low level of investment into our collective health.”

The hearing came just days after hundreds rallied against the budget cuts outside the health department in Holland.

“County residents have shown with their voices and their feet that they support the health department and do not wish to see its funding cut,” one resident said Tuesday.

Health officer Adeline Hambley, who sued the board after it attempted to oust her in January, said in August that Gibbs emailed her advising her to prepare for a $2.5 million budget. Hambley later said that allocation would have forced the health department to close within four to seven weeks after Oct. 1.

The county released a new proposed budget last Wednesday showing the health department would

Healthcare providers sign letter in effort to get more health funding to Ottawa

Ottawa County’s Public Health funding remains a worry for many, and most people at Tuesday’s public hearing are attending in support of the health department.

Before approving the 2024 fiscal budget, commissioners have much to consider following the public hearing.

More than 100 healthcare providers signed a letter sharing the impact public health cuts will have on the county.

“I’m concerned that you’d be jeopardizing your tax base by jeopardizing the health care of our community,” Dr. Kurt Lindberg told Ottawa Commissioners.

The county’s budgeting process is in the final stretch.

“I would like you to severely think about your decision to defund the health department,” Dr. Michael Borenitsch said.

Recently, the hot topic is how to fund the county’s health department.

“I think if we want to make the health department better, and I think that’s what you want, you want to better health department. I don’t think the point is to defund them or take away their money,” Dr. Matt Olson said.

“Every time there’s a change of the guard, people are being replaced, new people are being brought in, budgets are reviewed. And I don’t understand the complaints or the fear associated with all these programs. I agree the Public Health Department is so important. But it’s also important to make sure that we’re using those funds for programs that have the most impact,” Kristen Meghan Kelly said.

At the meeting, Ottawa County Administrator John Gibbs explained to commissioners this proposed budget allocates more to public health than in 2019.

“The originally proposed FY24 Public Health budget, long before we took a deeper look at it at budget, would have been 26% higher than the current budget that is in front of us right now,” Gibbs said to the commissioners.

Under this new budget draft, the health

Community members rally in support of Ottawa Co. Health Dept.

HOLLAND, Mich. — Hundreds of people gathered in Ottawa County Wednesday to show their support for the Department of Public Health.

The protest is the result of a weeks-long back and forth over the Ottawa County Public Health budget.

Community members rally in support of Ottawa Co. Health Dept.

Commission Chairperson Joe Moss, in August, suggested dropping down the budget to pre-COVID levels, with a $2.5 million general fund contribution and no COVID grants.

Health Officer Adeline Hambley warned a budget cut that significant would close her department within weeks of the new fiscal year.

Hambley told FOX 17 Tuesday that county officials boosted the proposed public health budget— $4.3 million from the general fund, along with $1.4 million from the department’s rainy-day fund.

She said the new numbers would allow the department to meet the state of Michigan’s standard funding requirement set back in 1993; however, she noted that the department may not be able to provide adequate services required by the state.

“There’s some concerns with some significant cuts to our core public health programs— immunizations, communicable disease, infection and prevention, investigation and STD infection prevention and testing,” Hambley explained.

Ottawa Co. Health Dept. Rally

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“It’s emotional. We’re all feeling some sort of emotion, and I think we all feel the love that we’re getting today,” Judy Kettering, an Ottawa County Community Health worker, said. “I am very hopeful, and if the outcome doesn’t, you know, turn out to be what we all want it to be, I hope it still saves a lot of services that the families around here really need and rely on.”

County Administrator John Gibbs said during Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting that the public health budget proposal still is 22% higher than fiscal year 2019.

Meanwhile, Chairperson Moss noted that the budget is not finalized, and

Ottawa Co. administrator handling budget cuts

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Ottawa County is nearly a month away from the start of the 2024 fiscal year.

FOX 17 learned Wednesday that Ottawa County Administrator John Gibbs plans to handle the creation of a new public health budget without input from any current leadership within the health department, including Health Officer Adeline Hambley.

Health Dept.: Ottawa Co. administrator handling budget cuts

Hambley says Gibbs has directed fiscal services to develop her new budget. She explained there’s a discussion to use $1.3 million from its health fund’s contingency account to supplement needs.

“I know Fiscal Services has been trying to figure out how to make that budget, budget balance and meet the law,” Hambley said. “I have not been involved in any of the conversations about public health programming and potential cuts. I’ve reached out numerous times to ask to be at the table or to say this is complex and we should meet and discuss with fiscal. I have not received anything.”

Her office initially asked for $6.4 million from the general fund. At a recent county meeting, Chairperson Joe Moss asked for it to be cut down to $2.5 million and cut out all COVID-19 grants. A total reduction ofits 2024 budget by more than 80 percent. Hambley said this would force the department to close within a matter of weeks.

However, Ottawa County officials pushed back on those claims.

Hambley explains the COVID grants make up to $2.2 million in funding. The health department says if this money goes away, this is also going to eliminate six positions.

“If you take out all the COVID funds, it’s actually a lower operating budget than 2023. Our proposed budget for 24, lower than 2022, and it’s lower than 2021,” Hambley added.

Hambley says that this new change of

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