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Government & policy

Interim CEO appointed at eHealth Ontario

TORONTO – eHealth Ontario’s board of directors have announced the appointment of Robert Devitt (pictured) as the new interim President and Chief Executive Officer. The board recommended his appointment to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. The appointment takes effect August 4, 2009 and will end December 31,2009. eHealth Ontario’s board of directors is currently searching for a permanent CEO.

Mr. Devitt has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Toronto East General Hospital since January 2004 and will continue in this role one day per week. Previously, Mr. Devitt has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Peterborough Regional Health Centre and the Queensway-Carleton Hospital in Nepean, Ontario.

Mr. Devitt was also appointed as supervisor of the Scarborough Hospital by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, in August 2007, for approximately one year. Over this period, the hospital saw marked improvements in quality and workplace safety and was returned to fiscal health. “I’m honored to have this opportunity to lead eHealth Ontario, an organization that is so central to the government’s transformation of Ontario’s healthcare system,” said Mr. Devitt. “I am eager to meet the staff and stakeholders and help the agency deliver on the province’s vital ehealth strategy.”

“We are delighted to welcome Rob,” said Rita Burak, eHealth Ontario board chair. “The board looks forward to working with him on moving the organization’s mandate forward while introducing new accountability measures.”

“On behalf of the board and the entire organization, I want to thank Ron Sapsford, acting CEO and President, for his leadership during the transition period. During his time with eHealth Ontario, Ron brought stability and stronger accountability and reporting processes to the agency,” said Ms. Burak.

Mr. Sapsford, who was appointed June 9, will return to his role as deputy minister at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

eHealth Ontario is a new organization that plays the leading role in harnessing technology and innovation to improve patient care, safety, and access in support of the Ontario government’s health strategy. eHealth Ontario published the first ehealth strategy for Ontario in March 2009, which is focused on providing a comprehensive, patient-focused, secure and private electronic system. eHealth Ontario will drive the transformation of Ontario’s healthcare system, building toward an electronic health record for all Ontarians by 2015.

Robert Devitt has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH) since January 2004. This large community hospital, with a total of 470 beds, provides an extensive range of ambulatory, inpatient and community programs and services with a budget of $240 million.

The hospital has maintained a balanced budget during Mr. Devitt’s tenure.

In 2008 the hospital was named a gold recipient of the quality and workplace wellness Canada Award for Excellence by the National Quality Institute, which presents awards annually to organizations that have displayed outstanding performance. It was the first hospital in Canada to receive such an award. More recently, TEGH received full accreditation from Accreditation Canada with the survey report identifying no recommendations for change or improvement, an achievement attained by about only 20 percent of hospitals.

Mr. Devitt was appointed Supervisor of the Scarborough Hospital in 2007, completing this assignment in the fall of 2008. At the time, the hospital had been experiencing conflict with the community, a long history of financial troubles and issues related to patient services and workplace safety. By October 2008, under Mr. Devitt’s leadership, the hospital had made a dramatic turn around. It had new bylaws, a new administration and a stricter medical staff credentialing process.

Prior to joining TEGH, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Peterborough Regional Health Centre. This hospital operated on two sites and serviced a population of more than 300,000 in four counties. It is the region’s largest employer with a staff of approximately 2,000 and more than 600 volunteers.

Mr. Devitt has also served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Queensway-Carleton Hospital, a community hospital serving western Ottawa and the Upper Ottawa Valley.

He has a Bachelors degree from Queen’s University and a Masters degree from the University of Ottawa.

Posted Aug. 13/09.