Unknowns with health ministry ‘realignment’
The following are brief reports of items discussed during an Oct. 25 meeting of the Haliburton Highlands Health Services board.
HHHS CEO Carolyn Plummer told board members that it’s unclear at this point exactly what changes to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care under the new provincial government will look like, or how exactly those changes might impact HHHS.
“It’s not known yet, it’s too early to tell,” Plummer said.
Her report indicated that the province has announced a “re-alignment” of the organizational structure that, according to a memo from the ministry, “will clarify and simplify lines of accountability” allowing the ministry “to be more nimble and outcome focused.”
According to Plummer’s report, among the changes are aligning acute and emergency services; combining community and mental health and addiction services; and “centralizing the responsibilities for LHIN-managed health services under an associate aligned with key capacity, workforce and planning functions allow for end-to-end management of health services for better outcomes and improved integration.”
“Although it is too early to know what impact this will have on HHHS, our integrated health services organization is well-positioned to align with this new structure,” her report reads.
Dealing with legal pot
Marijuana was legalized across Canada as of Oct. 17, and HHHS will be updating its policies accordingly.
Its facilities and properties are already smoke-free zones, and board chairman Jeff Gollob said that marijuana would be included in the smoking ban, along with cigarettes. Gollob also indicated that the same laws and regulations that apply to alcohol in the workplace would be incorporated into policies.
“We’ll be looking at what other hospitals are doing,” Gollob said.
The Minden and Haliburton HHHS facilities also include long-term care homes Hyland Crest and Highland Wood, respectively.
“There are some particular challenges and issues that need to be addressed with regard to long-term care, recognizing that we are providing a residence for those folks,” Gollob said.
New chief nurse executive
HHHS has hired a new vice president of clinical services and chief nurse executive. Dr. Diane Duff is scheduled to start with the organization Jan. 7. Duff is a registered nurse with the College of Nurses of Ontario and possesses a PhD in nursing from the University of Calgary, with specialization in clinical neuroscience nursing.
“Diane has experience in both clinical and academic settings all over the globe,” a report from Plummer reads. “She has held progressive leadership and management positions in nursing and health sciences, and has worked in both unionized and non-unionized environments and managed large and diverse staff groups across multiple sites. Some of her experience includes working extensively with regulatory, professional, and government leaders; leading accreditation teams; being the lead researcher on a nurse-led tele-homecare project in the East York area of Toronto; and most recently engaging in projects related to assessing standards of practice concerning dementia care.”