Happy New Year! I hope everyone was able to enjoy some time with family and friends over the holidays, despite the challenges caused by the ice storm.
I must take a moment to recognize all the staff, physicians and volunteers who worked diligently under difficult circumstances and who went above and beyond to ensure the highest level of care for our patients, their families and the community in the days leading up to, during and following the ice storm.
One of the things I’ve truly come to appreciate since becoming part of the TSH team is the absolute commitment of our staff to providing outstanding patient care, and your response to the ice storm reflected this dedication. I know many of you came in to work during challenging weather conditions when you had no power at home. Others worked tirelessly past the end of their shift only to come back in to work again hours later or even stayed at the hospital. As a result of this exemplary service, we were able to support some of the most vulnerable individuals, such as dialysis and mental health patients. I know our patients and their families were grateful for your commitment and care.
Once again, thank you for your hard work and professionalism during this unprecedented crisis.
As we move forward into the new year, now is a good time to provide you with an update on the facilitated integration process with Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS). As you may recall, after many months of planning and consultation activities, on November 12, the Boards of Directors for TSH and RVHS approved, in principle, proceeding with a merger. That was followed by a public endorsement of the merger by physicians and associations practicing at the two hospital corporations on November 25 and by our Community Advisory Committee on December 4.
This “Preferred Integration Plan”, entitled Leading for Patients, identified a strong value proposition, especially in the longer-term. We believe that a possible merger would make us stronger and better able to respond to the needs of our community, address our aging facilities and find solutions to ensure fiscal sustainability.
Subsequently, the Central East Local Health Integration Network (Central East LHIN), provided one-time funding assistance to reimburse the hospitals for their initial integration planning costs and to fund the costs for the next phase, known as the “Transition Phase”. This includes financial and legal due diligence, establishing governance structures and ongoing stakeholder and community engagement.
The “due diligence” work refers to reviewing the financial and legal affairs of the two hospitals in order to ensure there are no impediments to proceeding with a merger and to ensure transparency of our respective operations.
The governance work entails reviewing the by-laws of the two hospitals in order to consider options for the design of a new governance structure. And of course, as with the previous phase, we will be consulting with our internal stakeholders and community as we move forward with these activities.
We anticipate completing the Transition Phase by the spring with final approvals being required by the two hospital Boards, the Central East LHIN and, ultimately, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. We will continue to share updates with you as we move through this process.
As I’ve stated in the past, I would be pleased to attend any department or program meetings to discuss the possible merger or other issues.
In closing, I look forward to working with the TSH team in 2014 as we continue to achieve excellence in all that we do.