Integration of Peterborough, Lindsay hospitals goes to LHIN in June
Two hospitals have a history of collaboration
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.”
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.