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Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Takes Important Step Forward in Meeting the Future Healthcare Needs of the Community with Two-Site Vision and New Corporate Structure

Chatham-Kent: November 16, 2017 – Today, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) released details of its organizational renewal embedding a two-site vision in its corporate documents and creating a new single hospital corporation. These are both critical improvements to ensure CKHA will be able to provide the care and services the community needs today, and into the future.  The new structure will mirror the long-standing integration of all other aspects of the Alliance and feature a new hospital corporation governing both the Chatham and Wallaceburg hospital sites with a single board of directors.

“This is good news for the people of Chatham-Kent and for the future of healthcare in the area.  I am confident that enshrining a two-site vision coupled with the corporate structure we’re introducing today will enable the hospital corporation to work as it should – focusing on delivering excellent healthcare today, and planning responsibly for the needs of the community in the future,” said Rob Devitt, Provincial Supervisor. “In the past year, we have seen the beginning of important investments in patient care particularly in Wallaceburg while undergoing a steady transition from near-bankruptcy, to a point where healthcare and services are now being enhanced, facility visions are in place, and financial stability has returned.”

Today’s announcement of a single corporation will lead to the end of hospital sponsorship by the Sisters of St. Joseph in the Chatham-Kent region through the St. Joseph’s Health Care Society.  In highlighting this change, Rob Devitt said, “I would like to specifically acknowledge the care, dedication and compassion of the Sisters of St. Joseph for the over 100 years of service they have provided to the community and thank them for this tremendous contribution.”

Through a robust and methodical process, CKHA’s overall structure was reviewed by the Provincial Supervisor to ensure that past problems are not repeated.  The modernization of its corporate structure mirrors what has been done in a large number of other hospital systems across Ontario and ensures the introduction of recognized best governance practices.  The new corporate governance structure is aimed at correcting the governance issues that were highlighted by the Provincial Investigator last year.  Since August 31, 2016, the Alliance has been under Provincial Supervision to correct a number of serious issues that led the organization to the brink of failure. Steps have been taken to ensure that, at a governance level: the organization’s obligations related to quality of care, performance and fiduciary duty are met; facility plans are in place for the long-term viability of both sites; a robust and skilled leadership structure is in place; workplace health is enhanced; and fiscal health is restored.  

CKHA’s previous governance structure was developed 20 years ago through the Health Services Restructuring Commission’s mandate.  In the years since, other alliance type hospital systems have modified their governance structures to reflect changing times, improved knowledge of good governance practices and increased public expectations about quality, accountability and transparency.  CKHA failed to advance in step with its provincial peer organizations. 

“Interestingly, all significant aspects of the Alliance hospitals have been integrated for almost 20 years including patient records, employees, medical staff, financials and quality reporting.  The only piece remaining fragmented was governance.  This integration of governance, coupled with the many checks and balances put in place through new policies and by-laws, will ensure we get a skilled Board of Directors acting in the best interest of our two-site hospital system,” Devitt said.

Today’s announcement on structure also includes a new draft Letters Patent that clearly articulates a two-site organization, a single skills-based governance structure, a 100-page new by-law, new governance policy manual and a skills matrix to help recruit a new Board.  These documents articulate the vision of a two-site hospital system for all of the people of Chatham-Kent.

A formal integration request will be submitted to the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (ESCLHIN) and the public and interested stakeholders will have opportunity to provide feedback to the ESCLHIN.

The sustainability of hospitals in general, and CKHA specifically, depends on excellence in governance at all times.  Hospitals are complex organizations that require skilled Boards drawn from a diverse set of backgrounds to ensure that patient focused high quality care, accountability, and transparency are the prime focus of the organization. The structure announced today is a crucial step to ensuring that the residents of Chatham-Kent get the hospital service they deserve now and into the future.

For more information please visit www.askckha.com. All documents are posted under “Governance.”

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To arrange an interview, please contact:

Fannie Vavoulis, Director, Chief Communications & Community Engagement Officer
fvavoulis [at] ckha [dot] on [dot] ca
519.352.6401 x 6143

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