Making The Rounds! - Issue 34

Making Rounds! - Issue 34 - Patient Safety is Priority on the Medicine Unit



Making Rounds! - Issue 34 - Getting To Know Rob Devitt

Getting to Know Rob Devitt 

Q: You have an impressive resume and a lot of experience as a healthcare executive and past Supervisor. Before we talk about your role at CKHA, can you tell us a bit more about Rob the person?

While I have worked my entire life in healthcare, my family is what’s most important to me. I am a husband and a father. While I love my work, they are my life and I believe that my professional career and accomplishments are because of them and their support. I live in Toronto but spend about half the year in Canmore Alberta, which allows me to pursue my passion for hiking and mountain biking. I also love to play hockey and have continued to play with the same team every Sunday night – the Peterborough Medical Staff – for 19 years. And, I have to confess, I’m an Ottawa Senators fan.

Q: In several meetings, you’ve referenced that this is only the 21st time in Ontario that a Supervisor has been appointed. Given that it’s a relatively rare occurrence, can you tell us a bit more about the role?

On August 31, 2016, I was appointed as the Supervisor for CKHA. According to the Order in Council and pursuant to subsection 9(5) of the Public Hospitals Act, as Supervisor my role is to exercise all the powers of the Boards and of the PGH, SJH and SDH Hospital Corporations, its officers, and its members in governing PGH, SJH and SDH in accordance with the Public Hospitals Act, its regulations and all other applicable legislation.

That means that as of late August, the accountability and responsibility of the Boards and corporations of Public General, St. Joe’s and Sydenham hospitals fall to me. It is critically important to me that the first order of business be to re-establish the board’s processes. This will allow me to exercise my responsibility and duty related to quality, risk and financial oversight. Along with taking time to get to know the organization and its people, governance is my immediate priority.

Q: Can you share some insights on the length of your appointment and your process or schedule in completing the task of addressing the issues raised in the Investigator’s Report?

It’s really too soon to know. The reality is that a Supervisor needs time to develop relationships and to work with people for them to have confidence in the recommendation and path forward. While I’ve spent time meeting with internal folks, past board members and other healthcare organizations, it’s still very early days in this process. To be perfectly honest, it will be some time before I have a sense of what a realistic timeline may be.

Q: Is it fair to assume that we will go from three boards/corporations down to one? 

It’s far too soon in the process to consider potential outcomes. What I can tell you is that I plan to work with the staff, physicians and community to develop the best solution for this community, one that ensures that best practices are followed and that accountability for quality, safety and fiscal sustainability are ensured.

Q: Will you be addressing operational matters such as budget and services across Campuses?

A: The budget available for services is largely defined by the province through funding formulas. What I can share with you is that I am a firm believer that if we focus on quality – and specifically quality metrics and outcomes – the financials will work themselves out. I am also someone who understands that the financial realities of acute care requires us to work together to find creative solutions. It’s with that mindset that we’ll advance this organization. I’m proud that over the 11 years I was CEO at Toronto East General, we balanced the budget each year while also improving quality.

Q: What are your initial observations about CKHA?

A: Having been here for about two weeks, I’m pleased with the quality of care metrics I’ve already reviewed and with the focus on patient-centered care. I’ve also hosted town hall meetings and toured both facilities. In addition to getting a better sense of the physical plant, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of the professional, friendly and caring staff that makes up this organization. I’m looking forward to getting to know the organization, its people and this community over the coming months.

Q: Let’s end this conversation the way we started it – on a personal note. What person, book or moment in history had the greatest impression or most inspires you?

It is hard for me to identify one person or moment in time that most inspires me as I have been so fortunate over the years to work along-side so many incredible people in healthcare from the hospital boiler room to the bed side to the board room table. If there is a moment that comes to mind it is perhaps the night our son was born back in August 1994. It was also the night that I was first made an interim CEO, and as a new father and a new leader, it has really shaped who I have become in the years since.


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