A B.C. man leading a campaign against hospital pay parking says that all five health authorities in the province saw an increase in revenue this year.
Jon Buss, founder and lead volunteer of HospitalPayParking.ca, reports that B.C. collected a whopping $36,388,000. Last year, the province collected $34,441,000, which was $1,947,000 less than this year. As such, the province saw a 5.65% increase over the previous year, which Buss notes is well above the rate of inflation.
Buss remarked in a release that, "hospital administrators are willing to further exploit patients to continue accessing this easy source of revenue."
Back in January, Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to Buss, about why he started a petition to end pay parking at hospitals in B.C. for good. He commented that other countries, such as Scotland and Wales, have implemented new systems and had success in doing so. He believes that the money could be raised in other ways, and that it shouldn’t rest on patients or their loved ones to raise it.
Vancouver Coastal Health reported a total revenue of $5,688,000, while last year it reported $5,537,000. This represented an increase of $151,000 or 2.73%. However, the health authority had the lowest increase of all the health authorities in the province. Last year, Fraser Health reported a total revenue of $14,974,000. This year, the health authority reported a whopping $15,471,000. The difference comes out to $497,000, or 3.32% more of the previous year. .
Interior Health reported a total revenue of $5,328,000 in 2018, and a total of $6,036,000 in 2019. This represents an increase of $708,000 or 13.29%. While that increase may seem high, Northern Health reported an even higher revenue increase of 45.02%. The health authority reported a total revenue of $713,000 last year, while this year they reported $1,034,000. This represents a total difference of $321,000.
Island Health reported a total revenue of $8,159,000, which was an increase of $270,000 over last year. Last year, the Island health authority reported a total revenue of $7,889,000. As such, it saw a total revenue increase of 3.42%.
The Ministry of Health told Vancouver Is Awesome in an emailed statement that, "Under the current government, parking rates for patients and visitors have not and will not increase." Further, it noted that the freeze in rates will continue as the government reviews parking issues.
The Ministry of Health adds that other variables have led to the parking revenue increases, and that all health authorities have reported an increase in demand and utilization. In addition, some health authorities have added new parking stalls while some cities increased service hours since Minister Dix introduced and implemented the Surgical and Diagnostic Strategy in 2017 where MRI and other procedures occur around the clock. It also reports that Interior Health received a one-time cost recovery of more than $300,000 because they were erroneously charged GST by their parking contractor.
The Ministry of Health added that, "Every health authority has programs in place to support patients and visitors who have a financial hardship to ensure that parking is not a barrier to care," and that a review is underway.