As the 450-plus people started filing out of the UAW Hall in Wallaceburg on Tuesday evening, Colin Patey, president and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, fielded questions from the media following the SDH members meeting.
Personal thoughts about the meeting
Patey said the Sydenham District Hospital Corporation’s members meeting was “totally and absolutely” a worthwhile exercise.
“When people come out and they have passion, they are concerned about the most important thing in their life, which is their healthcare, what’s wrong with that?” Patey said.
“That’s wonderful. I too am very interested in what’s best for health care in Chatham-Kent, in Wallaceburg and in Blenheim and Morpeth.”
Patey said what you want is for people to think about and reflect about the situation.
“I have a role to play, the board has a role to play, the LHIN and the Ministry, and they are different,” he said. “They are talking about me making decisions, which clearly I am not paid for. It’s not my responsibility, but there is a hierarchy and that needs to be recognized and understood.”
Patey said passion can only go so far.
“Being rational is the other part,” he said. “You got to really find the balance between passion and being rational. If you can strike that balance I think you end up with the best outcome. So I am optimistic and wishful that the people of Wallaceburg will balance these two things and get good healthcare. Any healthcare that can be improved by whatever the experts wish to tell us can take place, I think the community would be very prudent, very wise to put in place and ask the politicians to fund it from the tax payer base.”
Addresses Public General and St. Joseph’s hospital board’s proposal
While the SDH board’s vision for Wallaceburg’s healthcare future was outlined last Tuesday, Patey offered some insight into the plan being proposed by the Public General and St. Joseph’s hospital board’s, although he did call it “complicated.”
“We know that building over there (in Wallaceburg) isn’t going to be renovated,” he said.
“It is not fit for purpose. It was built for another time, in a another way in which healthcare was delivered. It has got so many building systems that are failing on it.”
Patey said he doesn’t want to get into a “fault game” about whether or not there should be money put into the current Sydenham Campus building.
“There is no more money that is going to be invested in that building,” he said.
“The Ministry has said so, engineers have said so. So we have a building that is falling down. It’s going to be closed on its own. Nobody else is going to close it, it’s going to close on its own because the building is going to fail.”
Patey added: “So we have got to put in place a plan, a capital plan that addresses the need that you need some facilities. We started that with the Imagine project which is a $70 million Campus of Care for the Wallaceburg area. We have been told by the Ministry that is not likely to happen. That would have to go to Cabinet and Cabinet would have to agree with that. However, there is an opportunity for something like a $10 million capital investment, so we said what can we can get for $10 million that will provide something better than nothing. In collaboration with other health care partners providing health care services in this area which is the COmmunity Health Centre and Canadian Mental Health Association.”
Patey said there is the potential of using the campus of care concept in Wallaceburg to bring in family health teams, the EMS and other health care providers and do a “proper efficient capital plan.
“We have done that. What you heard (on Tuesday.) The CMHA and the CHC, St.Joe’s and PG have agreed with that capital plan and the Sydenham Board chose not to agree with it and they are putting forward some of their own elements to it. So that is one element to it. At the same time there is an operational side. This year, if we had gotten the same money as we had last year, we would have had a balanced budget. We have a revenue shortfall. The revenue shortfall is about $1.8 million so we are going to end up short in deficit but that,” Patey said.
Patey said these are the Ministry’s figures, not the CHatham-Kent Health Alliance’s.
“We don’t create these,” he said.
“The Ministry figures that you are spending certain percent more in emergency services than we are giving you. That’s the Ministry. They are saying something like $17 million plus on emergency services we are spending and they are giving us $13 million plus. There is a shortfall. So when you want to go and look at what the Ministry wants you to do to balance your budget, I mean it’s clear as the nose on the front of our faces. You have to look at where the Ministry is not funding us.”
Patey added: “So what we have done is we went to them and said ‘we can reconfigure emergency services that we believe will not negatively impact access, safety, quality and patient experience because the coalition said that they would make adjustments and make changes to make sure that that is paramount.’ Damn, the money problem but you can’t interfere. I am the first one to say it. Do not interfere with access, safety and quality. The LIHN came back and says ” if you guys have got the courage and you will listen to us, we can do it differently and you save the money, and by the way we should be doing it anyway because its an improved way in which deliver care”.
Patey said this is not giving all the details of what’s there, that has got to come from the commission’s.
“This is not Dr. Patey you are talking to,” he said.
“I could get sarcastic and say some other people act like they are doctors. I listen to doctors and I listen to them to tell me how they can reconfigure healthcare without negatively impacting, access, safety and quality. In fact they are saying they can improve access, safety and quality. I gotta say ‘it sounds good to me.’ Let’s bounce this up to the LIHN.”
Patey said the LHIN has a proposal
“So that’s the operational plan… two boards voted for it, one didn’t,” he said.
“We can get into the governance issues. Fair ball, but the LHIN has that plan. The LHIN requires it of us legally. So you talk about me having my job. Anybody here wants to fire me, fire me but the LHIN can certainly make my life uncomfortable because if we didn’t submit a budget mitigation strategy, they could come and do all kinds of things to the board. They could say you are not doing your job. They can impose what they want to do. They can dismiss everybody if they choose to.”
Patey added: “So that’s the reality. That’s the law. We gave them the plan. We are waiting for them to come back and this is where we are currently.”
SDH plan is similar to Public General and St. Joseph’s
Patey said the plans put forward by SDH is very similar to the one proposed by Public General and St. Joseph’s.
“It’s twins, just from a different mother and father. It looks so much alike. It’s unbelievable,” he said.
“I am stretched to find the differences but that’s okay. I can see where some of them do exist. The first thing you will look at and you will see is far more similarities than differences. In fact, predominantly similar. I mean the thing is like co-location with the other providers, integrated care services kind of thing.”
Patey added: “So you know there is a lot of elements to it, that they’ve got nearly all of it I think they would have been well served but that is just a personal opinion. If they had said ‘in concept we agree but there are details we need to work out’ but that’s approach rather than substance. If that’s how they choose to take their approach, then that’s fine. Hey, you don’t think it would be the first time we made a recommendation that wasn’t accepted.”
Focused on getting a plan in place
Patey said the issues between the three boards need to be worked out in due time.
“The issue is conceptual,” he said.
“What did I say the last meeting when we were here? I am going to be doing everything I possibly can to see that there’s nothing taken away until we actually have something in place. If I am playing any game, it’s keep pressure on to get us a new facility here. Let’s get that $10 million spent in Wallaceburg with a new facility, people employed during the construction. All good things.”
Patey added: “Sure, there is some fine tuning that needs to be done, but quite frankly it’s mostly has to do with the commission’s having their say and I am not going to sit here and tell you what the commission’s need to say. I think they can speak for themselves I would imagine. Given the misunderstandings, if not misconceptions about what constitutes good quality care that I have heard floating around… I’d be surprised if the clinicians wouldn’t want to challenge that at some point soon.”
Can’t guarantee anything
Patey said he cannot make guarantees moving forward.
“I know myself. I am honest. I can stare anyone down whether it is Jeff (Wesley) or anyone,” he said.
“I can correct the board. I am not a politician. I know Jeff asked me the last time and guarantee was his word he used. I used it back. My response to him was ‘you’re asking little me to guarantee that there will be an emergency department here, when Monte (McNaughton), and Monte was sitting in the back there. Ask the Minister of Health in the house and he didn’t even give a guarantee.”
Patey added: “Anything that I would have to say could be overruled by this board tomorrow and the board of the LHIN. So I am sorry Jeff, use your breath somewhere else because it is a waste of mine to offer any kind of guarantee. I think I know myself and my job too well to be put in that position.”
Patey said he wants everyone to stick together.
“I would like that everybody in the audience have some sense of solidarity and stick to the issue rather than try to personalize some of this stuff,” he said.
“That gets no one, no where. It gets off the issue and that where I think it should stay. The issue constitutes good, excellent, even leading access, safety, quality care for the people of this area. That is the issue and the only one I am really interested in.”
Patey compared the situation to fly fishing for salmon.
“I use to fly fish for salmon,” he said.
“So when you fly fish and you know there is a salmon out there and you are concentrating and there are bloody flies all around you. I wish they weren’t there because I want the salmon. That’s what I think we should all focus on… what’s the best health care for the people of the area and I think we will get there, but we will have some noise and distraction along the way.”
Patey added: “There is no Godly reason in the world this issue, which is so important to people, to get distracted by people choosing to do innuendos and make this personal of any sort as if we are not here to serve and get the same thing. I bloody well am and I think they are too. It’s just people have different styles and different ways of getting there.”
Watch for more coverage on this issue.
Here is some more background information:
Dr’s call press conference: Doctors to address ‘public dialogue’ about emergency services
Wesley responds to PGH & St. Joe’s: Letter: 28% to 32% of ER services handled in Wallaceburg
Residents respond to PGH & St. Joe’s: Letter: 17 years of systematic reductions at Sydenham Campus
Two board’s address SDH: Letter: St. Joseph’s and Public General respond to SDH
Coalition holding meeting: Planning meeting set for Wallaceburg-WIFN Health Coalition
McNaughton gives letter to Hoskins: MPP hand delivers letter to Minister of Health
Walpole wants 24/7 ER: Walpole Island endorses having 24/7 ER remain in Wallaceburg
More details about April 19 meeting: ‘This is the beginning of a new era’
SDH’s new vision: SDH approves a new vision for Wallaceburg’s hospital
LIVE coverage of April 19 meeting: Sydenham District Hospital members April 19th meeting, LIVE coverage
Big crowd anticipated at SDH members meeting: Overflow crowd expected at ‘important’ SDH meeting
Premier Wynne addresses Wallaceburg hospital issue: Wallaceburg’s hospital discussed at Queen’s Park
Health Minister addresses Wallaceburg situation: ‘No plans whatsoever’ to close Wallaceburg’s ER
MPP stands up for SDH: Letter: McNaughton vouches for Wallaceburg’s hospital
Wallaceburg Health Coalition heads to Toronto: Hospital fight heading to Queen’s Park
Call for unity: Councillor calls for unity following social media suggestion
Wallaceburg councillor not happy: Wesley not happy with Chatham hospital boards
Kirenko presents about Nova Scotia model: VP presents ‘Collaborative Emergency Centre’ model
Recap of SDH board meeting on April 11: Wallaceburg hospital board ‘disappointed’ with latest developments
LIVE tweets from April 11 SDH meeting: Board meeting at Sydenham Campus in Wallaceburg, LIVE coverage
SDH Chair doesn’t agree with CKHA report: Proposed hospital changes does ‘not meet our expectations’
Health coalition meeting recap, April 7: New health Coalition fighting for Wallaceburg’s hospital
Advocacy group formed: New hospital advocacy group holding town-hall meeting
Full interview with CKHA CEO: CKHA president discusses Wallaceburg hospital situation
March 23 meeting recap: ‘Everything has to be on the table’
LIVE coverage of March 23 meeting: Wallaceburg hospital meeting at the UAW Hall
MPP bringing concerns to Queen’s Park: MPP: ‘The community spoke loud’
March 23 meeting preview: Doubts arising about Wallaceburg’s ER future
CKHA facing deficit: CKHA board meeting highlights
Imagine project background: New direction for a brand new Wallaceburg hospital