Public General Hospital and St. Joseph's Health Services Celebrate New Governance Model

CHATHAM-KENT: June 23, 2015 -- Today, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) announced a new direction in governance that will better meet the current and future needs of the organization, the patients it serves and the community at large. Following the Annual Report to the community, Public General Hospital Society of Chatham and St. Joseph's Health Services Association publicly announced their voluntary integration to become a single entity.

"We need a governance model that will reflect best practice and is nimble and flexible enough to respond to the needs of today's healthcare system," said Brenda Richardson, Chair, Alliance Board of Directors. "We believe we are on the right path to make that happen. Two Boards of Directors, Public General Hospital and St. Joseph's Hospital, have proceeded to action by approving a voluntary integration to create a single board structure."

In 1998, Public General Hospital (PGH) and St. Joseph's Hospital (SJH), along with Sydenham District Hospital (SDH) a few years later, proudly joined together to form the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. These three corporations each have a separate board of directors, which together created CKHA's Tri-Board of Directors. The board structure has not changed or evolved since the signing of the Alliance Agreement over 17 years ago, while during the same timeframe the organization's operations became one entity.

Two years ago, all three boards identified the need to address the misalignment between governance and operations and to re-establish itself as a leading board in Ontario, reflective of best practices. After an extensive and comprehensive governance review, the Executive Committee, made up of the Chairs and Vice Chairs of all three boards, worked on revisions that address the board's role and function, size, committee structure and by-law changes.

"We fundamentally believe that CKHA's governance must match, if not exceed, the organization's operational excellence," said Gail Rumble, Chair, SJH Board of Directors. "We are committed to supporting our entire community, particularly our patients, with a sustainable and thriving healthcare system in Chatham-Kent."

An effective governance structure will reflect best practices, add value, promote innovation and optimize efficiency and effectiveness to better serve the community and its needs. CKHA is an organization that is prepared to respond to the changing healthcare landscape in alignment with the best interests of the citizens of Chatham-Kent. The organization will continue to focus on patient and family centred care, safety, fiscal accountability and exceptional service.

The Sydenham District Hospital Board of Directors remains in place. They are currently reviewing by-law and procedure changes required to support further integration.

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) is a 200+ bed community hospital, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and technologies. Formed in 1998, CKHA is committed to core service excellence, top-flight operational performance and to becoming a facility of choice in Southwestern Ontario. With campuses in Chatham and Wallaceburg, CKHA is comprised of approximately 1350 compassionate staff, 251 healthcare professionals and 500 volunteers who serve the medical needs of 104,000 residents in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. CKHA is designated a schedule one facility under the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and cares for tens of thousands of inpatients, outpatients and emergency patients annually.

For more information contact:

Brenda Richardson, Chair, Alliance Board of Directors



What is the impact on patients?

This shift in governance will have no direct impact on operations including patient services or care delivery. However, a single board entity will better serve patients and the broader community by being more flexible and nimble to make decisions in response to the needs of today's system.

What role do Boards of Directors play?

The Board is responsible to govern and oversee see that the hospital is well managed by following the principles of accountability, transparency and engagement. The role of CKHA's Boards of Directors is to make decisions that best serve the broader Chatham-Kent community. Those decisions ensure that CKHA can continue to provide high quality, safe, accessible patient care in all services and programs.

The Boards oversees operations and ensures efficient and appropriate uses of resources, are a strategic partner to senior management and are a source of leadership to the organization. To learn more about CKHA's Board of Directors visit:

Boards also add value to the organization by leveraging their skills, expertise and experience in support of the organization's mission and vision. From asking the tough questions of its leadership team to being champions in the community to being strong advocates for the organization within the healthcare system and government, Boards of Directors help shape the organization's reputation and position within the community and health system.

How many Directors will be elected to the single board structure?

Today marks the first step toward a new structure; however, it is premature in the process to speculate all of the details that will support the realization of this integration. In the short-term, there will continue to be 10 elected directors in the integrated PGH and SJH model.

CKHA's Boards of Directors also implemented new governance protocols to guide all three boards through this transformative journey. The creation of new by-laws and policies, adopted by PGH and SJH and currently under review by SDH, further enables this work to continue forward.

How did the boards of PGH and SJH come to the decision that this was the best option for CKHA?

In 2012, the Alliance Board of Directors had the foresight to initiate a process to review the Alliance Agreement. As they initiated this process the board further recognized that it was not just a matter of revising the Alliance Agreement but rather, they needed a new approach. The board underwent an intensive process to understand how it was adding value to the operational excellence of the Alliance. After receiving the results of a governance review it became clear the board was not functioning to best practice.

The board accepted responsibility to change by embedding governance renewal into its strategic plan. Since then, the Executive Committee, made up of the Chairs and Vice Chairs of all three boards, have worked on revisions that address the board's role and function, which span from committee structure to evaluation to by-law changes.

As functional refinements went underway, the Executive Committee continued to examine the structural options that would best meet the current and future needs of the organization, the patients it serves and the community at large. Fundamentally, the direction is to see the board become a single entity thus aligning to how the hospital already operates.

What does this mean for the future of Sydenham District Hospital (SDH)?

The SDH Board of Directors remains in place and the Sydenham Campus will continue regular operation, offering the following services:

* 24-hour/7 days a week Emergency Department
* Inpatient Medicine Unit
* Social Work/Discharge Planning Services
* Pharmacy
* Ambulatory Care
* Laboratory
* Diabetes Education
* Respiratory Services
* Diagnostic Imaging
* Rehabilitation/Physiotherapy

For more information on services at CKHA's Sydenham Campus visit:

CKHA continues to work with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on its capital redevelopment project; the !magine project, with the Sydenham Campus as immediate priority for redevelopment.

Will the SDH Board of Directors continue to operate as a single board separate from the integrated PGH and SJH Board of Directors?

To support its governance renewal process, CKHA's Alliance Board of Directors put in place protocols to support this transformation. The protocol supports a distinct yet collaborative process to ensure continued support for the operations of both of CKHA's campuses. At this time, the SDH Board of Directors will remain a separate entity.

What impact will this have on CKHA's faith-based role?

CKHA remains committed to supporting spiritual care services, including the continued use of the Health Ethics Guide from the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada.

CKHA's Spiritual Care Program includes Hospital Spiritual Care Providers (SPCs), who are trained professionals and members of CKHA's interdisciplinary healthcare team, as well as Eucharistic Ministers, who are available upon request to distribute Holy Communion for Roman Catholic patients. Patients and families may also request the Sacrament of the Sick and staff will make the appropriate arrangements.

CKHA also has a Chapel, located just off the Main Lobby, and a Quiet Room (1st floor at Sydenham Campus); Catholic and multi-denominational masses are held weekly at the Chatham Campus.

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