Tag Archives: Ron Gagnon

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point even the Minister of Health’s appointed investigator realized that he was also subject of an action which was withdrawn before he could be legally served.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