Tag Archives: Anson General Hospital

CEO Peterkin leaves, many questions left unresolved

Bruce Peterkin has left the building. The MICs Group of Health Services has told the media that the controversial CEO of three northern Ontario hospitals no longer holds his position. When the Timmins Daily Press recently called Peterkin, they report he declined comment and abruptly hung up.

There is now talk that the healing process has begun following a lengthy struggle between members of the community and leadership at the hospital.

While Peterkin may have been a lightning rod for the wrath of many, it doesn’t mean all issues are resolved.

Last month a letter was sent to Health Minister Deb Matthews by the Ontario and Northeastern Health Coalitions taking issue with several details of a scathing investigator’s report that sparked the appointment of Hal Fjeldsted as the Ministry-appointed supervisor for the Anson General in Iroquois Falls. Fjelsted is now serving as interim CEO of all three MICs hospitals, including Matheson and Cochrane, upon the invitation of those two other boards.

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Hospital governance not by necessity a ‘democratic process’ — investigator

Ontario’s public hospitals are private not-for-profit corporations. Most are built and operated with public money and sign accountability agreements with the provincially appointed Local Health Integration Networks.

At any time the Minister of Health can take over a hospital, appointing a supervisor who assumes the power of the CEO and board as she did this month in Iroquois Falls.

There used to be a time when most hospitals sold “memberships.” A membership was largely limited to voting to ratify a nomination to the board and getting to ask questions at the hospital’s annual or general meetings.

Over the years many hospitals have transitioned to self-appointing boards, cutting the public out of any direct power relationship, as limited as it may be.

Ontario is unusual in preserving individual hospital boards at all. Many provinces run their hospitals through more centralized bodies, such as directly through their Ministry of Health or by a regional health authority.

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Update: Matthews limits role of supervisor despite scathing report into northern hospital

“In 1970, Dirk sued Stig, Nasty, and Barry; Barry sued Dirk, Nasty, and Stig; Nasty sued Barry, Dirk, and Stig; and Stig sued himself accidentally. It was the beginning of a golden era for lawyers…”– From the UK Comedy The Rutles

Iroquois Falls residents may have found the circumstances at their local hospital similar to Eric Idle and Neil Innes’ comedy The Rutles, but few of the 4,500 community residents of this northern Ontario town were likely laughing.

At one point even the Minister of Health’s appointed investigator realized that he was also subject of an action which was withdrawn before he could be legally served.

“This was the first time I had been made aware of this action,” Ron Gagnon wrote in a scathing report into the governance of the Anson General Hospital submitted at the end of June and made public in redacted form about a month later.

Gagnon, whose day job is CEO of the Sault Area Hospital, wasn’t the only one to be subject to litigation by the small northern hospital.

With an annual budget of $13.8 million and 157 staff, the Anson General was spending more than $10,000 a month on legal fees – an estimate Gagnon believes to be low.

The 34-bed hospital planned to take the North East LHIN to judicial review over its decision to appoint KPMG to investigate public complaints over how the hospital was being run — an investigation the hospital failed to cooperate with.

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Under LHIN investigation, northern hospital files $500,000 legal action against activists

A northern Ontario hospital and two senior staff have initiated a $500,000 legal claim against a group of nine activists opposing formal amalgamation as the North East LHIN has begun its own separate investigation into complaints about the hospital.

Among the nine activists is Jim Brown, the former Mayor of Iroquois Falls.

Anger has been confused by finger-pointing over responsibility for the amalgamation proposal.

The North East LHIN is denying claims made by hospital CEO Bruce Peterkin that it is pressuring three hospital boards to amalgamate in Cochrane, Iroquois Falls and Black River-Matheson. They instead put the proposal back on Peterkin, describing it as a volunteer integration.

Getting staff consensus on the formal amalgamation would not be difficult — at present all three hospitals share one administration, with Peterkin serving as CEO of all three. The three hospitals share services under the umbrella of the MICs Group of Health Services.

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