When I became President and CEO of TSH about a year ago, I knew I was joining an exceptional team and that there were many exciting opportunities to build on the outstanding care we provide to our community. Over the last 10 months, we have been working extensively on one of these opportunities through a possible merger with Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS). As you know, on March 15 our Board of Directors decided that we will not proceed with this merger. I would like to take a moment to provide some background on our decision and how we will be moving forward with a slightly different version of our future.
At the direction of the Central East LHIN, through a facilitated integration process, TSH and RVHS have worked closely with our stakeholders over the past year to explore ways to create an integrated system of health care services that would deliver outstanding care to meet the needs of the people in our community while using resources more effectively.
After completing a comprehensive preferred integration plan, legal and financial due diligence, and extensive stakeholder engagement activities, the hospitals came to the conclusion that a merger was the best way to continue delivering quality patient care for many years to come.
We equally realized that our hospitals do not have the financial capacity by themselves to successfully implement the proposed merger. As such, both hospitals’ approvals were conditional on financial support from the government to address unavoidable merger-related costs, and capital planning grants to start the feasibility, planning and design work to modernize our hospital facilities.
On March 14, we received word from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that TSH and RVHS would be receiving $3 million to assist with the capital planning process. We have accepted this one-time funding and will continue to work with RVHS to address our infrastructure deficiencies and the modernization of our hospital facilities. However, our Board felt that some financial support was also required to address the merger costs to ensure that the hospital would be set-up for long-term success. Without firm commitments in this regard, TSH made the decision not to proceed with the merger at this time. While I am personally very disappointed, it was the right decision to make.
Throughout this planning exercise, the Board remained steadfast that financial support and capital planning grants were conditions for proceeding with a merger. After weighing the level of support received and assessing the financial strength of the hospitals, the Board was not prepared to jeopardize patient services to pay for the merger.
Although we are not moving ahead with the merger with RVHS, we still have many opportunities to work with our colleagues to advance health care delivery for the people of Scarborough. One of the first initiatives we will be focusing on is the integration of our Maternal Newborn and Child Care programs, an initiative which was put on hold during the merger discussions.
We will also be requesting that the Ministry reinstate and expedite the next phase of capital planning approval for the surgical suites and diagnostic imaging concourse at the General campus; projects that were temporarily deferred by the Ministry.
I want to thank all of you for your tremendous contribution to this process over the last year. Your feedback and ideas have guided our work, which has always been focused on putting patients first. I am looking forward to focusing more of my time on the many exceptional programs and services we deliver and moving our hospital forward as a leader in health care delivery on many fronts.