New Partnership Creates an Integrated and Collaborative Mental Health Service Delivery System across Regions



Lambton-Kent:  Bluewater Health, Canadian Mental Health Association Lambton Kent Branch (CMHA LK) and Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) are pleased to announce a new and innovative mental health and addictions partnership that puts patients, clients and their families at the center of care by improving integration of services. 

The organizations have signed a Memorandum of Agreement for mental health and addictions services that reflects their deep commitment to work together to reduce system complexity for patients and clients while improving their outcomes. The partnership’s goal is to create an integrated mental heath delivery system that provides positive, seamless patient and client experiences across regions and sectors. By building on the expertise and success of all three partners, those in need of mental health and addictions services will benefit from the collective use of resources, system-wide planning and adoption of best practices.

Strengthening the connections between acute care and community care mental health services is vital to improving the patient and client experience and their transitions of care.  To support this partnership, an important first step, was to create a joint leadership position, accountable to all three organizations. Bluewater Health, CMHA LK and CKHA are pleased announce the appointment of Paula Reaume-Zimmer as Integrated Vice-President, Mental Health & Addiction Services for the Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton communities.

Starting today,  Reaume-Zimmer will report to the Chief Executive Officers of Bluewater Health and CMHA LK, and the Chief Operating Officer of CKHA. In her new position, she will be accountable for overall program planning, resource allocation and monitoring of quality, risk, utilization and clinical improvements, ensuring that each organization’s key performance indicators are met and aligned with the regional mental health strategic plan.

Reaume-Zimmer is known and respected locally and provincially for her leadership, expertise and passion for collaborative and cross-sectoral approaches to integrated mental health and addictions service delivery and system outcomes. She is Chatham-Kent’s site lead for ACCESS Open Minds, a lecturer for the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Department of Psychiatry at Western University, and an alumnus of the University of Toronto Rotman, Advanced Health Leadership Program. 

In 2015 she earned the Jane Chamberlin Award from the Association of General Hospital Psychiatric Association. Paula defends her dissertation for her Doctorate in Health Administration in April 2016, with the majority of her doctorate studies focused on mental health interventions and systems planning. 

Today’s announcement aligns with the work started by CKHA and CMHA-LK in 2013 when they created a joint leadership and shared service delivery structure in Chatham-Kent.  Since first embarking on this innovative collaborative model, together CKHA and CMHA LK have leveraged their resources and eliminated duplications in their quest to improve patient/client experience.


“Together we remain committed to the development of an integrated, seamless system of mental health service delivery, particularly for youth and adolescents, which will optimize and coordinate available resources across the system. This integration model will allow us to leverage substantial expertise, leadership and deep commitment for the best possible service for patients and clients across our communities.”
Mike Lapaine, President and CEO, Bluewater Health

“This commitment to shared leadership and service delivery across Lambton Kent acknowledges and reinforces the progress achieved to date and confirms our collective commitment to improving mental health services in the region. Moreover, Paula’s strong commitment to the patient and client voice in improving and changing the way mental health services are delivered within and across sectors makes her the right person to take on this challenging and exciting role.”
Alan Stevenson, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Mental Health Association Lambton Kent Branch

”The creation of this leadership structure marks an exciting next step in collaboration between CKHA,
CMHA LK and Bluewater Health. This is an innovative approach to address the challenges our clients face in navigating a complex healthcare system and particularly, as they move from acute to community services,”
Sarah Padfield, Chief Operating Officer, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance

“I’m a passionate advocate for mental health and addictions treatment and committed to systems planning which truly improves the patient and family experience. In Chatham-Kent we’ve already experienced how integration improves access and coordination for the patients and families we serve.  With Bluewater Health’s involvement we will further enhance our ability to plan resources most effectively within a regional model. This integration would not be possible without the support of leadership at CKHA and CMHA; I’m excited to work with another strong leadership team at Bluewater Health.”

Paula Reaume-Zimmer, Integrated Vice-President, Mental Health & Addiction Services

Contact Information:

Mike Lapaine
President & CEO
Bluewater Health
519-464-4400 ext 4722 
mlapaine [at] bluewaterhealth [dot] ca

Alan Stevenson
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Mental Health Association, Lambton Kent Branch
519- 337-5411 ext 3237
AStevenson [at] cmhalambtonkent [dot] ca

Sarah Padfield
Chief Operating Officer
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance
519-352-6400 ext 6035
spadfield [at] ckha [dot] on [dot] ca

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