Enough with hospital parking fees

Dear Heather:

Your November 11th, 2015 letter to me was so warm and personal that I feel that I know you as a friend but I’m puzzled why you would start our friendship by asking for money.    

 

You have told me that my donation would be used to purchase “beds, sleeper chairs and other items necessary to provide the very best patient care experience.”

 

You wrote:   “Can you imagine being a little child, walking, into

                        a big bright shining hospital for the first time when she sees

                        a wall filled with hearts and the girls mom reads out the

                        special message written on your heart…the butterflies

                        settle down a bit. She feels brave enough to go on.”

Dear Heather:

Your November 11th, 2015 letter to me was so warm and personal that I feel that I know you as a friend but I’m puzzled why you would start our friendship by asking for money.    

 

You have told me that my donation would be used to purchase “beds, sleeper chairs and other items necessary to provide the very best patient care experience.”

 

You wrote:   “Can you imagine being a little child, walking, into

                        a big bright shining hospital for the first time when she sees

                        a wall filled with hearts and the girls mom reads out the

                        special message written on your heart…the butterflies

                        settle down a bit. She feels brave enough to go on.”

 

Let me tell you why neither she, nor her mother is smiling.   The hospital has just stung them $4.00 for less than a half hour of parking.   If her parents just rushed her to emergency and had to spend two hours waiting for care (a common waiting time at any hospital) that would be $16 that her mom and dad have to lay out in parking fees.   Any longer and they may as well pay the maximum of $23 to park until 6:00 p.m. and after that; another $10 for evening parking.

Downsview, the primary service area for Humber Hospital, is one of the lowest income areas of the City of Toronto. If you really want to put a smile on her face and that of her parents too; why not relieve them from the anxiety of feeling that the hospital is (like all other hospitals in the city) ripping them off by charging outrageous parking fees.

 

Humber’s most recent annual report claims revenue of $19,996,587 from “parking and ancillary”. That’s about 6% of their revenue. I guess that “ancillary” means things like gift shops and catering. When I tried to find out the actual amount I got the grand hospital run around.

 

All of us donate a substantial amount to Humber River Hospital through our Income Tax. If I make an additional donation to a ‘brand new state of the art’ hospital I want to know how it is going to be spent.   I want to be sure, for example, that it is not being used to pay any part of the $516,067.00 salary Humber pays to its President and CEO, Reuben Devlin, or the $20,564 he gets in taxable benefits.   Not that I don’t think he deserves it -the average salary for Toronto Hospital CEOs is just over half a million dollars

 

I stopped donating to hospitals long ago, not only because of their heartless parking fees but also for their habit of charging fees they don’t earn; like scamming patients out of $45 for an ambulance bill when the ambulance service is provided free of charge by the City of Toronto and for which the hospital renders no service.

 

I don’t envy you or your job Heather.   It isn’t easy to convince people to donate money to a brand new state of the art equipped hospital.   I suspect that your primary mailing list is the list of recent patients, the same people who have just been stung for an outrageous parking fee or an unjustified ambulance bill.

You ask, “Will your heart be there this holiday season?” I’ve enclosed it but somehow I
doubt it will ever be posted.

 

Howard Moscoe

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