How is equipment funded at our Hospital?

Published Monday, May 30, 2022

How is equipment funded at our Hospital?

Each year, a committee comes together to determine where funds raised by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation will be allocated. In previous years, these funds came solely from donations and events, but since the pandemic put many things on hold, the Foundation was forced to pivot to come up with new ways to raise money for the Hospital. Thunder Bay 50/50 draw started in early 2021, and the success of the draw meant more dollars coming in, which means more grants could be approved, in turn purchasing more equipment for our Hospital.

Although there are more dollars available from the 50/50 draw, the process to purchase equipment and make upgrades in the Hospital remains the same. This ensures that these funds are allocated broadly, and fairly. In recent years, there have been higher demands for upgrades, as our once “new” Hospital is now nearly 20 years old. In addition to the age of the Hospital, expansion of our cancer centre and cardiovascular programs mean more funding is needed to help provide the best care for our patients.


Step 1: Departments Share Their Needs

Each year, a committee from the Hospital comes together to discuss and determine the equipment needs for each department. From there, departments are invited to submit their applications for equipment funding to the Foundation. No dollar amount is too big or small – in the past, grants have been approved for small items such as IV pumps, to larger items like automated medication dispensers, surgical tables, and even a new 3T MRI scanner.

In previous years, these funds came solely from donations and events. But, since the pandemic put many things on hold, we found an additional way to raise money for the Hospital: The Thunder Bay 50/50!

Step 2: Choosing the Grants

Once the Foundation receives all of the grant applications from the different departments, a committee reviews the applications. Members of the committee come from different backgrounds to represent a broad segment of the population. Each member has a different thought process and perspective – ensuring a non-biased evaluation of both Hospital and community needs.

“I have participated in medical equipment selection for a number of years, dating back to my days at McKellar Hospital,” says Dr. George Doig. “Over time, the selection committee has become very diverse, and has grown from physicians and Hospital staff, to include other community members with different backgrounds, like business, finance, and even dentistry, to ensure transparency and fair representation. This is also great because everyone has a different perspective.   I believe we do a good job making decisions that will best benefit healthcare in Northwestern Ontario as a whole, not just specific departments within the Hospital.”

When assessing the applications, the committee members follow strict guidelines, which includes a scoring matrix to determine the importance to both patient care, and what will most help the staff to provide that high level of care. When selecting grants for approval, members try and ensure that as many departments and areas of the hospital are represented, try to broadly allocate the funds available, and ensure everyone’s needs are met. The primary concern is that grants are funded that will in turn benefit patients the most.

“Our team considers all applications, and our thorough and diligent review process takes into consideration those that will benefit as many of our patients as possible, and in particular those that take into account the needs of the Hospital staff,” says Barry Streib, Grant Committee Member, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation.   “Our Grant Committee reviews the applications first individually, and the committee then comes together to deliberate and discuss our thoughts on each. Our selections, once the team agrees, then proceeds to the Foundation Board of Directors for final approval. In this way we are able to share our perspectives with everyone to ensure the decisions made are for the benefit of the health care professionals to provide the best possible patient care at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and to our health care centres in the region.”


Step 3: Approval & Fundraising

Next, the list of grants is approved by the Foundation's Board of Directors. Then we have the wonderful job of telling the departments that their grants were approved!

This is when fundraising can begin for certain pieces of equipment, through things like donations, events, and the Thunder Bay 50/50. Sometimes the money is made available right away, and the equipment can be ordered ASAP!

Step 4: Equipment is Ordered!

After their grants are approved and funds are allocated, departments can begin ordering the equipment for their unit! HOORAY!

FYI: The Grant Committee is currently reviewing the applications submitted for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, with approximately $6.9 Million in funding requested.

More equipment funded thanks to Thunder Bay 50/50 proceeds

The Thunder Bay 50/50’s proceeds go towards funding the areas of highest needs, so grants from any department may be approved for funding with these dollars. This is unlike donations that go into specific funds, like the Northern Cancer Fund, Northern Cardiac Fund, or towards areas like research, paediatrics, urology, or mental health, to name a few. In 2021, over $4.2 Million in equipment purchases and facility upgrades were approved in the Grant Funding process, which is the most the committee has ever been able to approve. This is largely due to the increase of dollars that came in from the Thunder Bay 50/50 draw. Some of the items that were approved for funding include:

  • Replacement Digital Radiography X-Ray Equipment for the Fracture Clinic ($614,270)

  • Echocardiography machine for the Cardiovascular Sciences Program ($500,000)

  • Automated Medication Dispensing Units for the Pharmacy ($500,000)

  • A new Minimally Invasive Surgery Suite for the Operating Room ($327,067)

  • General Ultrasound Unit and Probes for Diagnostic Imaging ($180,000)

  • Delivery Carts, Infant Warmers, Bili Blankets, OR Tables and other equipment for Labour and Delivery ($120,000)

  • Portable Medial Lifts for various departments ($25, 600)

  • Bariatric Stretcher Chair for the ICU ($12,199)

As approved equipment purchases arrive at our Hospital, they are added to Some of this equipment may take months between approval, purchase and delivery, so the website will continue to be updated as these items arrive.

In addition to the Grants that were funded, $1 Million from the 50/50 Draw has been allocated to the Our Hearts at Home campaign, for equipment purchases for the Cardiovascular Surgery program. The Hospital is currently working the Ministry of Health on the planning and design of the program and facility.

Dollars will also be going towards replacing one of the Cath Lab Suites, including a new C-arm, and also towards upgrades in the cancer centre, which will be a multi-year project that will include both equipment purchases and facility improvements.

To purchase tickets for this month’s draw, visit Lottery License # RAF1222518.


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