In­te­gra­tion of Peter­bor­ough, Lind­say hos­pi­tals goes to LHIN in June

Two hos­pi­tals have a his­tory of col­lab­o­ra­tion

The Peterborough Examiner - - Local - BILL HOD­GINS KAWARTHA LAKES THIS WEEK

Ross Memo­rial Hos­pi­tal CEO Dr. Bert Lauw­ers up­dated City of Kawartha Lakes coun­cil Tues­day on the hos­pi­tal’s ex­plo­ration of an “in­te­gra­tion” ini­tia­tive with Peter­bor­ough Re­gional Health Cen­tre that could see the two hos­pi­tals share a sin­gle board of gov­er­nors, a sin­gle CEO, a sin­gle se­nior staff team and shared back-of­fice func­tions.

If such a part­ner­ship is ap­proved, he said RMH would keep its name and the two fa­cil­i­ties would still have sep­a­rate hos­pi­tal foun­da­tions.

He said the ini­tia­tive comes at the urg­ing of the Cen­tral On­tario Lo­cal Health In­te­gra­tion Net­work. The two hos­pi­tals ex­pect to have a re­port ready for the LHIN’s June 28 meet­ing.

Un­der cur­rent pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tion, both the Cen­tral East LHIN and the hos­pi­tals within it have a le­gal duty to iden­tify and ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­te­gra­tion of the ser­vices pro­vided for pa­tients.

Through in­te­gra­tion, the two hos­pi­tals would be work­ing to­gether rather than against each other, Lauw­ers said. It would end the prac­tice of com­pet­ing for staff and it could ben­e­fit both hos­pi­tals in at­tract­ing new ser­vices to the area.

“Cur­rently, we are com­pet­ing for the same nurs­ing po­si­tions,” he said. As an in­te­grated hos­pi­tal, they would be able to be in the top tier of large com­mu­nity hos­pi­tals in the prov­ince, giv­ing them a stronger voice in at­tract­ing new pro­gram­ming and re­sources from the LHIN and the prov­ince.

“We have al­ready been work­ing with the PRHC for a num­ber of years,” Lauw­ers said.

RMH and PRHC jointly de­liver care for pa­tients in the re­gion through part­ner­ships and col­lab­o­ra­tions in ar­eas such as Di­ag­nos­tic Imag­ing, dial­y­sis ser­vices, lab­o­ra­tory medicine, men­tal health and ad­dic­tions ser­vices, ob­stet­rics, pe­di­atrics, oph­thal­mol­ogy and or­tho­pe­dic surgery. Most re­cently, this part­ner­ship re­sulted in the cre­ation of a shared vice pres­i­dent/chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer role to pro­vide fi­nan­cial lead­er­ship and over­sight for both or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“This is not about sav­ing money or cut­ting jobs,” Lauw­ers said. He pointed out that the RMH has been run­ning at more than 100 per cent ca­pac­ity since De­cem­ber of 2016. “We don’t have the staff now to pro­vide the ser­vices we need.”

With an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion — some­thing he dubbed the “sil­ver tsunami” — he said it’s only go­ing to be­come more of an is­sue, and be­ing able to pro­vide more ser­vices may an­swer some of that con­cern.

PRHC CEO Dr. Peter McLaugh­lin, also ad­dress­ing Kawartha Lakes coun­cil, said the com­mit­ment to ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­te­gra­tion marks a cru­cial turn­ing point in the his­tory of both or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“This com­mu­nity has been for­tu­nate to have a hos­pi­tal like RMH,” he said.

“Our two or­ga­ni­za­tions have a long his­tory of col­lab­o­ra­tion and suc­cess­ful part­ner­ships bring­ing high qual­ity care to the peo­ple we ser­vice.”

Coun. Pat Dunn, as pres­i­dent of the board for the lo­cal chap­ter of the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion, said that or­ga­ni­za­tion went through a sim­i­lar in­te­gra­tion in 2013.

There will be job losses, he said. But there will be ben­e­fits as well. The Kawartha Lakes re­gion ben­e­fited from the part­ner­ship, he said, see­ing such im­prove­ments as shorter wait lines and in­creased ser­vices be­ing made avail­able.

He urged the two hos­pi­tals to in­clude equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion on a shared board if that is what re­sults from this in­te­gra­tion, at least for the first year. Both sides will bring for­ward items they are pas­sion­ate about, he said, and by the sec­ond year, those goals will have merged.

Louis O’Brien, the LHIN board chair­man, has said the two or­ga­ni­za­tions have a strong his­tory of col­lab­o­ra­tion and fo­cus­ing on the needs of their pa­tients. “We would en­cour­age lo­cal res­i­dents, pa­tients, care­givers, hos­pi­tal staff and other part­ners to pro­vide their feed­back to the hos­pi­tals dur­ing this process.”

BILL HOD­GINS/METROLAND

A pro­posed in­te­gra­tion be­tween Ross Memo­rial Hos­pi­tal in Lind­say and the Peter­bor­ough Re­gional Health Cen­tre could mean im­prove­ments in ac­cess to health ser­vices, the CEOs of each hos­pi­tal say.

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