As we all know, there has been a lot of discussion lately regarding change; particularly around the exploration of the benefits and risks of a possible merger between The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) and Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS). There are two messages that I would like to impart to you on this: the emotional aspect of change and the things that we still need to accomplish despite decisions pending the possible merger.
First, I acknowledge that there are a lot of priorities that must be juggled in these challenging times. I extend my deepest appreciation to all of you for your participation and hard work over the past months, not only relating to the TSH / RVHS planning activities but also for staying focused on providing the best care and experience for our patients and caregivers.
Here’s a quick reminder on the rationale for considering a merger with RVHS. Through Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care, the province is leading health care reform and changing the way that health care is delivered in every community across the province. Ontario’s aging population and fiscal challenges mean the status quo is not an option. As it stands today, our local health system is not sustainable. The province today spends about 42 per cent of its budget on health care; and without change, health spending would use up about 70 per cent of the provincial budget within 12 years, crowding out the ability to pay for many other important public services.
As I previously shared with you, I see the possible merger with RVHS as an opportunity for innovation and collaboration that would ultimately benefit the patients and communities we serve. Having said that, change – particularly around a possible merger – is not an easy discussion to have. And, with change, come a number of emotions – anxiety, stress, confusion, excitement, anticipation, and more. It can become difficult to focus on the tasks at hand and it can be challenging to manage how we feel and act when we are uncertain about the times ahead. See below for available TSH supports in addressing these issues.
We must continue to focus on the excellent patient care that we provide, on maintaining positive and supportive relationships with one another, and on managing our day-to-day activities. We’re in this together – and our commitment to providing outstanding patient care must never be compromised.
I have also heard that some of you are unsure about the budget planning that is also ahead of us. To answer this query, we will still need to do our operational planning and budgets as we have done in previous years. For the 2014/15 fiscal year, we anticipate starting this process in December or January, at which time the executive team will provide an approach and framework. This is separate and distinct work from the possible merger activities.
Timelines for Possible Merger
The final report, entitled Leading for Patients, relating to our facilitated integration with RVHS is now posted (November 8th) to iConnect, our TSH website and the Leading for Patients website. It’s important to note that this integration report is not an operating plan or budget.
With respect to the possible merger with RVHS, we need to be aware of the timelines that are ahead of us. This is a lengthy process and if a recommendation is made to move forward with a merger, it is not something that will occur overnight.
As previously announced, the Boards of Directors of RVHS and TSH will be meeting separately on November 12 to deliberate the findings and recommendation of the integration report. If a decision is made to proceed with a merger, then a recommendation will be sent to the Central East Local Health Integrated Network for consideration at their Board meeting on Wednesday, November 27. Based on this meeting, a recommendation from the Central East LHIN could then be forwarded to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care for a final decision.
If approvals are achieved, then it will take time to establish the new hospital – a new Board of Directors, selection of a CEO and Chief of Staff, selection of the executive team, for example. Integration of administrative and back office functions would then follow so that the day-to-day activities can be supported as a merged organization. The new Board and CEO would likely embark on establishing a new strategic plan and priority setting. Planning activities to integrate patient services would likely occur in the second year after a merger, and implementation in subsequent years. Such planning exercises would include engagement of staff, physicians and the community.
So the point here is that implementing a merger takes time. Regardless, we remain committed to engaging our stakeholders during the entire process.
Available Information and Supports
To help you further understand the integration planning activities with RVHS, I encourage you to visit the Leading for Patients website at www.leadingforpatients.ca for details or to speak to your manager.
If you would like further clarification on the possible merger, or if you have any questions regarding our operational budgets, please let me know. I am available to come to team meetings/staff huddles and to speak to you in person.
Finally, as you well know, taking care of ourselves is paramount. If you are uncertain about some issues or need help, seek out support from your family, colleagues, supervisor or other TSH resources. Here’s some additional support being offered here at TSH:
- Managing through Change – e-Learning Module – Explore change and the typical range of emotions experienced, understand differences between change and transitions and develop strategies to better manage transitions (available on The Learning Institute the week of November 11)
- Change Management for All Employees (in-classroom)
- November 15: General campus, Crockford Boardroom: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
- November 15: Birchmount campus, Lecture Theatre: 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
- Wellness Centre – Exhale
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
- Your Director/Manager/Supervisor is available to support you
- Your Human Resources Business Partner is available to support you
- Department visits by the CEO to discuss issues and address your concerns