Hospital CEO resigns after board rejects “improvement” plan

Staff of the Perth and Smiths Fall District Hospital were told today CEO Todd Stepaniuk has resigned. Stepaniuk, who helmed the organization for 12 years, appears to have lost a battle with his board over the hospital’s performance improvement plan.

Staff was told that Toronto East General Hospital CEO Rob Devitt will be instead leading a four-member peer review team to find ways to eliminate a rising deficit at the district hospital. Last year the hospital finished with a $700,000 deficit, expected to rise to more than $2 million this year. Devitt’s team will begin their work July 13 with their recommendations expected in September.

The hospital was supposed to submit a performance improvement plan (PIP) to the South East LHIN in May, but the board rejected the proposals brought forward by Stepaniuk and the Senior Management Team.

One board member expressed concerns in May that cuts to hospital services would lead to an exodus of “qualified personnel.” The board felt the PIP would “affect our community’s health adversely.”

Stepaniuk had been guiding the hospital through a $45 million expansion project, including renovations to the existing 1950s hospital.

Last summer the Ontario Auditor warned that hospitals could face deficits or service cuts if the McGuinty government proceeded with its funding plans for health care. Since that warning, the spring budget restrained funding even further than had been projected in 2011.

Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital is the only such facility in the SE LHIN located north of the 401. It has an annual operation budget of about $50 million.

Devitt is no stranger to rescuing hospitals and other health care organizations. In the wake of the e-Health scandal Devitt was asked to go in and pick up the pieces as Interim CEO. He has been appointed supervisor of the Scarborough Hospital and the P3 William Osler Health Centre.

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