The Board of Directors of Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) has made a decision in favour of keeping the hospital’s obstetrical program (OB) open.
“We spent the last eight months doing our homework; we listened to the community, our staff and physicians and brought in an independent advisor to provide an unbiased view.
We now believe we have a plan that not only allows us to retain obstetrics but also doesn’t lose sight of the fact we need to ensure a place for our hospital into the future,” GBGH Board Chair Ralph Befort said following the decision Thursday night.
The Board has now directed Senior Leadership to prepare the implementation plan.
That plan includes low risk births continuing to be delivered at GBGH and strengthening the current partnership with the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) OB program.
“We have relied on OSMH and its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for many years to provide support for our higher-risk moms,” President and CEO Karen McGrath said. “The Board is asking that we make that partnership more robust and formalize a new model of care while retaining our program as well; it will mean our moms and babies always have access to the type of care they need when they need it.”
At its July meeting the Board directed the OB review committee to provide them with options for an OB program to keep GBGH in the baby delivery business.
“The Board agreed that we wanted to look at options that provide a quality OB program at our hospital,” said Mr. Befort
That followed a June decision by the Board to set up three committees to continue the work of the task groups formed in the late winter. The committees were asked to provide options and plans for OB, ICU and Surgery to be presented in the fall for consideration. Those committees were led by independent advisor Dr. Keith Rose, Chief of Staff Dr. Martin Veall and Chief Nursing Executive Liliana Canadic.
While the specifics of the partnership agreement need to be worked out, Ms. McGrath noted it can allow for some shared education opportunities for GBGH OB nursing staff to join with OSMH staff, a shared leadership model and more formal collaboration.
“I am confident this is the right way forward for our hospital and our community,” Chief of Staff Dr. Martin Veall said. “It took a tremendous amount of work to reach this point and from a clinical perspective our work is not done yet.”
Dr. Rose, a retired physician leader who began his career in Midland, was engaged by the board in April following discussions with the NSM LHIN and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to bring a different perspective to the conversation as the hospital continued its review of the 14 clinical recommendations contained in the third-party operational review conducted by Geyer and Associates last year. That review included 108 recommendations; the Board took the 14 dealing with clinical service changes off the table for closer scrutiny.
Dr. Rose has developed, for the Board, a number of recommendations to be considered as the partnership agreement with OSMH moves forward.
The original three clinical committees were tasked with reviewing the 14 clinical recommendations and coming up with solutions that address quality and safety in the delivery of the programs and stay within the current funding framework. Each group was given three months and then presented their reports to the board in May.
“We want to recognize and thank the first teams that came together and the hard work they put into their reports. Those reports included feedback from community members as well as frontline staff and physicians and have helped to form the framework the planning committees used in their work,” said Mr. Befort. “We also want to thank our community for their engagement and insights as we have gone through this process. We are community members as well and it has always been important to us to be respectful of the needs while we try to operate the hospital within our fiscal reality.”
The third party operational review with 108 recommendations was tabled late last year and none of the clinical service changes or cuts that were recommended in the review have been acted upon. The 94 tactical recommendations that deal with matters such as appropriate behaviour and education opportunities for frontline and management have been dealt with in a work plan made available to the public through the hospital’s website.
The board made the entire report public when it was released and held seven community town hall meetings throughout January and February where they shared the report and heard from more than 1,000 community members.
The review, in collaboration with the NSM LHIN, focused on key areas such as governance, medical staff, clinical services and the role of the hospital within the LHIN. The third-party review included interviews and focus group sessions with close to 200 stakeholders both internally and externally and resulted in the 108 recommendations. It is available on the hospital’s website.
In October the Board will receive the final reports and recommendations for the ICU and surgical programs.