Who is running our Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs)? With Commissioner Don Drummond’s calls to beef up the power of the regional health organizations, the make-up of the LHIN boards may become increasingly important.
For six years the McGuinty government has been making appointments to these boards. Most appointments are for three-year terms, meaning many LHINs are just now filling the third generation of their boards.
Who they are is very much a reflection of the government in power, many coming from the education and business sectors. Forty-eight claim some connection to the public and post-secondary education system, including teachers, professors, lecturers, principals, school board trustees and those who have served on the boards of colleges and universities. On the business side there almost the same number again of chartered accountants, consultants, IT professionals, human resources managers and bankers. About one in four business people on the LHIN boards are from the financial services industry.
Twenty-three LHIN board members state they are retired from their active careers, although many more fail to list a current position, suggesting they too may also be retired.
The most unbalanced board is the Mississauga Halton LHIN, where a majority of members are business people, four who come from for-profit companies with health care connections. That includes Jackie Conant (Pharmaceuticals – Apotex), Duncan J. MacIntyre (CEO of a “blood and pathogen monitoring device development company’), Kim Piller (Director of sales with Metagenics Inc, a nutritional supplements company), and Dr. Sonia Sanhueza (President of Sanhueza and Associations, which advises entrepreneurs who are working to commercialize medical devices, therapeutics and health care information and communication technologies). Sheila Maloney also serves on the MH LHIN board even though she is an executive director with Canada Health Infoway. Canada Health Infoway is a national not-for-profit company set up by Canada’s First Ministers to “foster and accelerate the development and adoption of electronic health record (EHR) systems with compatible standards and communications technologies.” MH LHIN “rounds out” its board with two chartered accountants and an entrepreneur who has straddled everything from organic fertilizers to children’s publishing. There are no present or former clinical health professionals or health care administrators on this board.
Thirty-six LHIN board members have past experience either as administrators or board members of Ontario hospitals.
Several LHIN board members have served in various capacities with the Ontario Hospital Association, including former OHA Chair Wallace “Wally” Wiwchar who serves on the North East LHIN.
Bob Lawlor, past President/CEO of the St. Catharines General Hospital sits on the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN. Lawlor is one of two LHIN board members who acknowledge any past or present connection to a labour union. Lawlor places his experience with SEIU on his biography. The other is Dennis Gushulak from the North West LHIN, who is the current President of the Red Lake Unit of the Retired Teachers of Ontario.
Due to conflict of interest rules, only 16 health care clinical professionals serve on the LHIN board, much fewer than the 23 teachers, principals and post-secondary professors and instructors.
Politicians are in steady supply at the LHINs. 16 LHIN board members have a political past, most at the municipal level, including former Toronto City Councillor Suzan Hall. Best known among the former politicians is John McDermid, a former member of Brian Mulroney’s cabinet from 1988-1993 (PC), Ronald Lipsett (Liberal MPP 1987- 1990), and Dave Cooke (NDP MPP 1977-1997).
Only a handful of LHINs are missing a lawyer on their board – nine lawyers presently serve.
It may be interesting to attend the Toronto Central LHIN if only to hear Richard Bickstead, CEO of the progressive Wellesley Institute, go head to head with Angela Ferrante, who holds a senior position with the right wing C.D. Howe Institute. The C.D. Howe (sometimes referred to as the “Seedy and How”) has a history of arguing for suspension of the Canada Health Act and the introduction of two-tier health care. Ferrante, by the way, is Chair of the Toronto Central LHIN.
Toronto Central LHIN also has a board member who says she “serves on the Advisory Council for National Security, a body that advises the Prime Minister on all issues related to National Security.”
Several LHIN board members have connections to the McGuinty government’s favorite consulting firms, including Maneesh Mehta (19 years with Deloitte before striking out on his own), Ronald Haines (retired as a partner with Deloitte and Touche), and John Fraser (a former partner with KPMG Canada).
Other notables presently on LHIN boards:
Former Senator (1990-2010) Dr. Wilbert J. Keon is the 76-year old chair of the Champlain LHIN. Dr. Keon has been inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, is a recipient of both the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario and is considered a pioneer in cardiac care.
Linda Keen, also serving on the Champlain LHIN board, is the past President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. She may very well know Carol Perry (Toronto Central LHIN) who currently services on the board of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.
Elaine Ashfield (Champlain LHIN) is currently the Chief Privacy Officer and an Executive Director with Canadian Blood Services.
Wynn Turner (South East LHIN) is the former administrator of the Rideau Regional Centre from 1986-1997.
W. Arthur Ronald (South East LHIN) is the former manager of laboratory hematology and diagnostic imaging at Sunnybrook hospital (1968-78).
Wayne Gladstone (Central East LHIN) is the former Senior VP of Finance and Administration at OMERS – the Ontario Muncipal Employees Retirement System).
Margaret Risk (Central East LHIN) is the former Executive Director of the Colleges of Nurses of Ontario from 1982 to 2000.
Stephen E. Quinlan, (Central LHIN) is former President of Seneca College.
Michael Hoare (Erie-St. Clair LHIN) is a former Dean of Health Sciences and Human Services at Fanshawe College.
Patrick O’Malley (Erie St. Clair LHIN) is the Executive Director for Lambton County Developmental Services.
Dale Small (Waterloo Wellington LHIN) is a former VP with Bank of Montreal (BMO).
Paul McDonald (Waterloo Wellington LHIN) is professor and chair of the Health Studies and Gerontology department at the University of Waterloo.
Lorraine Gandolfo (Central West LHIN) is the manager of communications and public affairs at the Trillium Foundation.
Randy Kapashesit (North East LHIN) is the Chief of the MoCreebec Council of the Cree Nation.