Ross Memorial Hospital - Kawartha Lakes
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Special Act

February 27, 2020 - The Bill received first reading in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, was carried, and referred to Commissioners of Estate Bills. Click to view the Application to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

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February 26, 2020 - By Veronica Nelson, Interim President and CEO

You may recall that the Hospital has been in the process of updating its Special Act since 2012.  The Special Act is one of many pieces of legislation that sets out how the Hospital must operate, others include the Public Hospitals Act and the Connecting Care Act. On February 20, the Hospital received notice that its Special Act (‘Bill’) will be presented by MPP Hogarth in the coming days.  While our Bill sits in queue before the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, I wanted to address some of the questions I have received this week. The Hospital is aware of public meetings taking place next week, meetings that are not affiliated with or being led by the Hospital.

Will the Hospital continue to operate as a hospital?

Yes, Ross Memorial Hospital will continue to operate as a hospital. We know that our care and services are essential to this community. The Hospital is currently completing Master Programming and Master Planning, an extensive process that provides a roadmap for growth for the next 5, 10, and 20 years.

Does the Bill give the CEO or Board the power to close, merge, or run Ross Memorial Hospital as anything other than a hospital?

No. The CEO and Board do not have absolute power in mergers or changes to key services, as the Hospital is governed by the Ministry of Health, Public Hospitals Act and several other acts of legislation. The Special Act amendment is not tied in any way to a merger with another hospital, discontinuation or transfer of services. The Hospital is committed to bringing more services to our community and better support local patients and families. For example, we recently introduced shoulder replacement surgeries to our surgical program – a much-needed service for our community.

How is the community involved in Hospital decision-making?

Community involvement in our governance has increased, and we continue to look for opportunities to consult with patients, families and community members in our planning and decision-making. The Board and Board committees are comprised of community representatives and Patient Experience Partners (PEPs). There are also many PEPs that serve on Hospital committees and perform independent audits on patient care services which are reported back to the Board’s Quality Committee. Many of our quality improvement initiatives and service enhancements have come from recommendations from patients and families. For example, we recently made enhancements to our Operating Room after receiving insightful patient feedback.

What is the Special Act?

The Hospital was incorporated through a Special Act of Legislation in 1903, rather than through the Corporations Act – which is the more common method of incorporating Ontario public hospitals. The Hospital has amended its Special Act three times – in 1954, 1964, and 2000, to adapt to the ever-changing nature of healthcare. The Hospital has again approached the Ontario Legislature to update its Special Act to enable flexibility on how we provide care, to modernize references and to update the governance model to reflect a skills-based Board. This governance model is used in many Ontario hospitals and reflects best practices.

What happens next?

The Bill sits in queue in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and will soon be introduced by MPP Christine Hogarth. Following the first reading, the Bill will follow the stages of a bill as set out by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario: https://www.ola.org/en/visit-learn/about-ontarios-parliament/legislative-process/stages-a-bill. This process may include review by various Commissioners and Committees. When the Bill reaches Royal Assent, it will become a law, called the Ross Memorial Hospital Act, 2020. The Hospital is then obligated to follow the requirements of the Act along with other relevant acts including but not limited to Public Hospitals Act, Connecting Care Act and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Our mission is to provide exceptional care to our community – a community that we are all a part of. We remain steadfast in our commitment to bring more services to the City of Kawartha Lakes and to better support patients and families with the care they need, close to home.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Special Act, please email me at vnelson@rmh.org.

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February 24, 2020 - The Hospital received confirmation on February 20, 2020, that MPP Christine Hogarth will introduce the Bill in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. This first reading will likely occur during the week of February 24. More details will follow after the reading. Letter from MPP Hogarth

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December 17, 2019 - The Hospital is awaiting first reading of the Bill. Updates will be posted here as they become available. Please direct any inquiries to the Hospital directly and not legal counsel, to minimize legal fees incurred. Contact vnelson@rmh.org for any questions related to the Special Act. 

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November 15, 2019 - Our Special Act Application has been filed with the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. 

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The Future of Ross Memorial Hospital and the Special Act

By Veronica Nelson, Interim President and CEO, Ross Memorial Hospital

November 8, 2019

Recently, misinformation has spread throughout our community about the Hospital’s Special Act. Specifically, many have expressed concern that changing our Special Act will mean a merger between the Ross and another hospital. Simply put, the decision to update our Special Act is not tied in any way to a merger or transfer of services to another hospital. We do not plan to merge with another hospital. In fact, we plan to expand our services and better coordinate and deliver care with community partners through our City of Kawartha Lakes Ontario Health Team (CKL-OHT).

What is the Special Act?

The Hospital was incorporated through a Special Act of Legislation in 1903, rather than through the Corporations Act – which is the other method of incorporating Ontario Public Hospitals. The Hospital has amended its Special Act three times – in 1954, 1964, and 2000, to adapt to the ever-changing nature of healthcare. The Hospital is approaching the Ontario Legislature to update its Special Act to reflect our current governance model, which has been in place since 2012.

Is RMH planning to merge with another hospital?

No. We are not considering a merger with another hospital, nor are we considering transferring services away from the area.

The language in the proposed Special Act supports the Hospital in operating within the Ontario Government’s care model. For example, with the introduction of Ontario Health Teams, which will coordinate and deliver care locally, our structure must provide the flexibility to integrate care and services as our local team evolves.

As a lead partner in the CKL-OHT, we aim to enhance local services and are currently working with the government and our partners to identify gaps in the care available in the City of Kawartha Lakes, and determine how we might work together to address them.

How does RMH engage with the community?

The Ross Board of Governors includes 12 independent, voting community members. Patient and family involvement in decision-making is very important to us. We have included patient, family and community member advisory roles on Board committees and will continue to do so. 

We are deeply invested in doing what’s right for patients and families. The updated Special Act will support us in our continued delivery of care, while creating flexibility to meet the needs of the community now and into the future.

As we shape the future of the hospital, we will keep care close to home. We will be asking the community for its input on care and services as we develop the CKL-OHT, and along with our partners, we will provide the best care for the residents of the City of Kawartha Lakes.

If you have any questions about the Special Act or how you can get involved in shaping the future of care in our community, please contact me directly at vnelson@rmh.org.

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