Manitoulin Health Centre Board Notes

Chief Executive Officer’s Report

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC), Derek Graham, began the March meeting of the MHC board with a summary report.

He explained that the Sweet Slumbers campaign to replace hospital beds is continuing to receive community support. He told the board he thought the campaign would reach the three-quarter mark ($150,000) by the end of June.

“We’re well on track and have had a great response,” Mr. Graham said. “I have no doubt that will continue.”

He spoke of a recent decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal on health care privacy breaches that will now allow for civil law action (including the right to sue for damages). “This will have major implications for all health care organizations and workers with respect to future liability premiums,” Mr. Graham said. Previously, the damage potential for such breaches had been mitigated by language in privacy laws to be reasonably small in dollar value. However, this decision to allow the ability to sue under civil law opens the risk of damages being awarded into the millions of dollars. It is unclear if this award will be subsequently challenged up to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“I think this will have major implications for MHC and all Ontario hospitals,” he said.

The Collaboration Agreement of the Island’s health care partners has received signatures from the MHC, North East Community Care Access Centres, each of the three Island Family Health Teams and the Gore Bay Medical Clinic. Other agencies are still reviewing the agreement, the CEO reported.

“Physician recruitment has received a good level of support from the core of Manitoulin’s municipalities with funding support promised by Assiginack, Tehkkumah, Northeast Town, Central Manitoulin and Gore Bay,” he said.

Chief Nursing Officer’s Report

Pat Morka, chief nursing officer and vice president, clinical services, shared that the MHC submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in January to participate in a senior-friendly initiative.

“We have been chosen for the April cohort, which involves our integrated professional team spending three days in Toronto with the coaching team and teams from other organizations across Ontario, planning the project,” Ms. Morka explained.

The team consists of Steve Blouin, physiotherapist, Laurel Leconte, dietician, Lesley Green, physiotherapist, Mary Jo Harper, RPN, Judith Vanleeuwen, RN, and Paula Fields, nurse manager.

“The project examines five areas of possible decline in our frail seniors within 48 hours of admission with a subsequent plan to address the areas of concern by all disciplines,” she said.

Ms. Morka shared that a new chemotherapy chair has been purchased thanks to a $2,000 donation from the ‘boob scarves’ campaign.

Ms. Morka told the board of a new handwashing initiative the MHC is undertaking. Eye catching infection control posters with a graph below depicting weekly handwashing audit results will be placed at both hospital sites for both staff and the public to see.

“When you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, the public knows,” she said.

Ms. Morka spoke of a patient who presented herself to admitting in Little Current, stating that she had been in contact with people who had travelled to Africa. The hospital went into full Ebola procedure mode.

It turns out the patient had not been in contact with African travellers but staff chalked it up to good training.

Manitoulin Central Family Health Team update

Lynn Foster, chief financial officer and vice president, corporate support services, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the development of the Manitoulin Central Family Health Team (FHT) in Mindemoya.

Substantial completion is estimated for mid-April, she shared, but noted it is too soon to establish an occupancy date.

New to this FHT design is a staff shower, which was requested as part of the design in order to encourage staff workouts during breaks.

Chief of Staff Report

Dr. Stephen Cooper explained, via teleconference from Toronto, that there are a couple of physicians planning to look at the open practices in Mindemoya and Little Current this spring. However, there has been no change to the physician manpower status. “A recent cancellation of a locum really highlighted the critical shortage we are experiencing,” Dr. Cooper said in his report. “Happily, Sally (our recruiter) was able to come up with a last minute locum.”

“The unilateral contract imposed by the Ministry of Health on Ontario physicians includes many cuts to incentives to rural programs,” his report continues. “It also severely limits a popular funding choice for primary care. I’m not sure of these changes will be good for recruiting physicians to the community. With the number of locums (physicians taking part-time work rather than joining a rural medical practice full-time), one wonders if physicians are waiting for the funding to improve before committing. I have been attempting to set up meetings with the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) and our MPP to ensure they are aware of the risks.”

Auxiliary report

Dave Sylvester presented the Little Current Hospital Auxiliary report, noting that a recent in memoriam donation of $5,000 from the late Irene Cadieux, coupled with another $5,000 from other fundraising initiatives, meant a cheque presentation of $10,000 for the Sweet Slumbers campaign. The cheque was presented during the auxiliary’s annual casserole dinner.

He explained that the auxiliary has donated toward three beds over the last 18 months.

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Little Current auxiliary and the group is planning a special 70th anniversary dinner in June.

Suzanne Norris, MHC board chair, thanked Mr. Sylvester and the rest of the board for their hard work. “We appreciate what you do,” she said.

Fundraising chair

Angela Becks, fundraising chair and board vice chair, thanked Rick, Julia and Alicia McCutcheon of Manitoulin Publishing for the media coverage the two Island newspapers give each of the donations MHC receives. She noted the importance of the Manitoulin West Recorder as well “as it is something those on Western Manitoulin hold dear and expect to see photos there,” which saw nods of agreement from around the table.

Draft budget passed

The board passed the draft operating budget for 2015-2016.