The fiscal 2023 financial statements are out for the British Columbia Health Authorities and included this year is the first look at hospital pay parking incomes following the temporary “free parking” measures put in place during the pandemic. Although revenues are down from pre-pandemic figures, it’s unclear why. The ministry of health has a consistent record of being uncooperative with any of our inquiries, so I’ll hazard a few guesses on lower revenues.
First, it is my sincere hope that our messaging is finally getting through to hospital visitors. That message can be found throughout this website. Chief among these teachings is the Canada Health Act that says British Columbians can access healthcare without financial barriers. Our guidance also asks that British Columbians understand the difference between parking tickets and invoices. Tickets issued by tax authorities and invoices created by private corporations are not the same thing. In addressing the constant threat of vehicle impounding, our research has not ever revealed a single incident where a vehicle belonging to a patient or visitor was towed off property for unpaid parking fees. If you still feel like paying for parking at a public hospital in BC, consider the act as a kind donation to your local parking management company. You would be foolish to think you’re helping to fund healthcare in the province. That number again; zero point one six percent.
In my previous blog post I reviewed the latest policy change from the minister on the pay parking file. It highlighted the made-up-on-the-fly stratification of those worthy of free parking and everyone else. The sudden introduction of a tiered healthcare system, albeit at the parking lot level, seems ironic considering many think two tier healthcare is our only way out of an endlessly chaotic public system trying to meet the growing demand for services. Could the drop in revenues come in part from the new exemptions?
The negative health implications and stigmas associated with COVID19 spooked a lot of folks. The media reported on early diagnostic opportunities were being missed and anecdotal evidence suggested some hospital parking lots were not a full as they were in 2019. Without a doubt many people did their best to stay out of healthcare facilities for much of 2020, 2021 and 2022. Did that contribute to the drop in pay parking income?
Ideally I would like to believe there was simply less need for healthcare in the past year because a majority of British Columbians learned valuable lessons during the lockdowns. Could it be we’ve finally had that collective kick in the pants for each of us to prioritize daily exercise, consume more plant-based foods, re-arrange lifestyles to ensure eight quality hours of sleep plus a boost in real-life social interactions and more time spent outdoors in front of the Vitamin D machine? Do you think this could be the real reason hospital pay parking revenues are down in fiscal 2023? I certainly hope it is.