Casey House will soon be the site of a huge redevelopment that will allow the specialty HIV hospital to house more patients and to institute a new day health program, which will serve up to 200 regular clients while they remain in their homes and communities, thanks to a planned contribution from the government of Ontario that could reach $29 million.
Liberal cabinet ministers Deb Matthews and Glen Murray made the announcement on Sept 27 at Casey House.
The province has included Casey House’s redevelopment in its long-term infrastructure planning. Money will flow in 2013/14 with planned completion and occupancy in 2015/16.
The expansion is a six-storey glass structure that will rise from the back of Casey House’s current building. It will contain 14 rooms with private bathrooms, replacing Casey House’s existing, outdated patient rooms. The day program will consist of centralized, interdisciplinary treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS in the community and will relieve pressure on local hospitals.
“Our patients are living with HIV, and the majority continue to need us to meet their health needs to keep them in their homes and out of acute care and emergency departments,” says Casey House CEO Stephanie Karapita.
The new program would be a centre for excellence in HIV/AIDS, including clinical care, education and research. It aims to be a model of chronic disease treatment.
While the government has included the expansion in its infrastructure plan, no dollar figure is yet attached because the construction project will be put to a competitive bid.
Karapita says she expects the project could cost between $35-36 million; the province’s contribution would be $29 million. She says she expects the contribution to remain in place no matter which party wins the upcoming election.
“Because we are part of the province of Ontario infrastructure plan, we understand that the commitment exists irrespective of whatever party is forming the government,” she says.
Although the expansion is not considered a campaign promise, the Ontario Liberals put out a press release about the commitment. Glen Murray is running for reelection in Toronto Centre, where Casey House is located.
Casey House has launched a $10-million capital campaign to raise the balance of funds necessary and create an operating cushion. The capital campaign is being led by former Progressive Conservative Party campaign strategist Jaime Watt.