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Government & policy

Leo Steven to chair Health PEI

CHARLOTTETOWN – PEI’s new health services authority, Health PEI, will be chaired by Leo Steven, former CEO of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – an internationally respected, research-oriented teaching hospital.

The appointment of Mr. Steven underscores the government’s efforts to develop an integrated, Island-wide health system that is both competently led and of the highest quality.

(Pictured: Premier Robert Ghiz, Chair of Health PEI Leo Steven and Minister of Health and Wellness Carolyn Bertram at the announcement of the Health PEI Board of Directors.)

At Sunnybrook, Steven led a team of 10,000 employees serving over 1,000,000 patients a year with a budget of $800 million.

Mr. Steven was also President and Chief Executive Officer of William Osler Health Centre, Ontario’s largest community hospital. He initiated the construction of one of the largest new hospitals built in Ontario during the past twenty five years. He has served as President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. He has also held senior positions at the Victoria Hospital in London and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Mr. Steven retired to Prince Edward Island in 2008, with his Island-born wife, Rosalie. His wife’s family have resided in Murray Harbour area for over two hundred years. Two of their children obtained their post secondary education at UPEI and now live in Charlottetown, and one daughter and two grandchildren live in Vancouver.

Rounding out the impressive Board of 11 strong are: Chairperson Leo Steven, Geraldine MacKendrick, Jim Revell, Dr. Steve O’Brien, Dr. Kinsey Smith, Phyllis Horne, Denis Marantz, Dr. Marvin Clark, Gordon MacKay, Donna Murnaghan and Kenneth Ezeard. The membership represents a broad section of the Island community and brings together a combination of skill sets and experience.

“We are very pleased that our provincial health services entity will be governed by a Board comprised of such skilled, committed community leaders,” said Premier Ghiz. “We are committed to building a sustainable, integrated healthcare system and the establishment of this highly qualified Board is another very positive step in that direction.”

In December, Government advertised for prospective members of the Board of Health PEI through Participate PEI and in excess of 130 applications were received.

“The body of applicants that we received was impressive. It is very reassuring, as Premier, to see the response that we received and the level of commitment that Islanders have to work with Government to strengthen our Island community. I would like to thank everyone who put their name forward,” said Premier Ghiz.

In 2009, in response to the concerns that were raised in the 2008 Corpus Sanchez International (CSI) health system review, the PEI government struck the Health Governance Advisory Council and tasked it with making recommendations regarding the governance of the healthcare system.

In November 2009, the government released the PEI Health Governance Advisory Council’s report and, in accordance with the report’s recommendations, introduced legislation to create an arms-length governing body to be called Health PEI.

The Health Governance Advisory Council identified the Health PEI Board as a crucially important element of the proposed new governance structure and recommended that the members of the Board possess key leadership competencies, have a range of relevant skills and experience, and be broadly representative of the Island community. The Council’s recommendation was accepted and legislated by Government in the Health Services Act.

“The formation of this Board represents the achievement of yet another milestone, as we work to achieve our vision for healthcare in this Province,” said Hon. Carolyn Bertram, Minister of Health and Wellness. “I look forward to a great working relationship between the Department, the Board and Health PEI as we continue to build a health system that truly meets the needs of every Islander.”

The core responsibilities of the Board of Health PEI include budgetary oversight and authority to oversee the day-to-day delivery of services in accordance with policies set by Department of Health and Wellness. Health PEI will deliver the front-line services to Islanders.

“I’m sure I speak for all Board members when I say we are pleased to offer our respective skills and experiences to work with Government to help achieve their vision of – one Island health system,” said Leo Steven, Board Chair. “The first challenge we will face as a Board will be coming together to begin to better understand the PEI system, the health needs of Islanders, the expectations of Government and our role in supporting the great work of all the staff, physicians, unions and other partners in the health system.”

The creation of Health PEI is just another step towards implementing Government’s vision of “One Island Health System.” The Health Services Act that creates Health PEI as a legal entity came into effect April 10.

In its April 4th, 2008 Speech from the Throne, the Provincial Government declared the healthcare system a strategic priority:

“Together with Islanders, we will build a sustainable, integrated healthcare system, one that shifts emphasis and culture toward wellness and primary [health] care, placing patients, the community as a whole and sustainability above all considerations.” Prince Edward Island, Speech from the Throne, 2008

The Government engaged Corpus Sanchez International (CSI) to undertake a province-wide review of the health system to make observations on the system. In its final report, CSI identified a variety of opportunities for improvement and in November 2008 Government released the Corpus Sanchez International (CSI) report.

CSI recommended numerous steps required to curtail the growth in healthcare costs and to ultimately provide safer, quality care to all Islanders. In November of 2008, seven of the recommendations were adopted as policy:

• Investment of $1.5 in home care

• Long-term care modernization

• Explore new models of care

• Changes to emergency services

• Community health centre role changes

• Re-alignment of hospital services

• New health governance model

While the CSI report made recommendations on front-line operations, it also noted challenges to leadership and governance, and made strong recommendations in this area, noting that governance infrastructure was a key factor in leading the changes needed in the operational model. The CSI report recommended that the Province re-establish an arms-length governing entity with a global budget and authority to deliver services in accordance with Department of Health and Wellness policy, plans and overall direction.

They noted that the current governance model is unique in Canada in that there is no overall governance entity that provides direction to the system, while still providing the typically required arms-length framework between the government (including the Department of Health and Wellness) and those who provide healthcare. This has led to a degree of bureaucracy that impedes the system, resulting in a lack of clear lines of authority and accountability.

The PEI Health Governance Advisory Council was established to research, consult and recommend a new governance model for the PEI health system – a model that supports the Government-adopted direction of “One Island Health System.”

As had the CSI report before it, after a thorough and evidence-based process, the Council also recommended that the PEI health system be operated by an operating entity that is at arms length to government. Government acted on this recommendation in 2009 via the Health Services Act that established a Crown corporation to be known as Health PEI.

The Council recommended that the entity be controlled and managed by a Board of Directors, appointed by the Minister, consisting of no less than nine and no more than eleven members who possess the skills, knowledge, experience and competencies determined by the Minister as being necessary to ensure the effective governance of Health PEI and be representative of various community perspectives.

The Council’s report contains background, a concise overview of governance theory and the key concepts being recommended.

Posted April 22, 2010

 

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