[This article was originally published in Healthcare Quarterly, Volume 2, Number 2.]

Canadian hospitals face unprecedented challenges as we enter the new millennium. Capital reinvestment in hospital facilities, new technology and information systems has become a critical priority. At the same time, the traditional sources of capital funds - operating surpluses, donations and government funding - are under considerable stress. On top of all this, most provincial governments have recently initiated restructuring exercises that involve significant consolidation and capital investment in the hospital sector.

Many of Canada's hospitals are in a period of major "catch-up." A lack of capital resources has resulted in the deferral of necessary expenditures on redevelopment, new technologies, equipment replacement, and implementation of management and clinical information systems. And this is on top of the expected drain on hospital resources associated with Y2K compliance. Moreover, there is major restructuring of the healthcare system occurring across the country, which requires significant capital investment. In fact, in a number of jurisdictions, restructuring activities are completely dependent upon the injection of capital to facilitate the process.


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