Government & policy
Kingston General’s CEO forced out
TORONTO – David Caplan, Ontario’s
new Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, notified Kingston General
Hospital (KGH) of his intent to recommend that a supervisor be appointed
for the hospital.
The minister’s actions were prompted by the findings and recommendations
of a report prepared by KGH Investigator, Graham Scott. The report
indicates a series of long-standing governance, management and financial
issues at the hospital that need to be addressed. The report is the
result of a three-month review of the hospital.
“The (Dalton) McGuinty government is committed to ensuring that
residents of Kingston are well served by Kingston General Hospital,”
said Caplan. “The findings of Graham’s Scott’s report clearly indicate
there are serious ongoing and outstanding issues at the hospital that
must be addressed. I believe the appointment of a supervisor would be in
the public interest.”
A feisty editorial in the city’s main daily newspaper, the Kingston Whig
Standard, took a somewhat different view. According to the Whig, “It’s
difficult to look at the pending dismissal of Kingston General Hospital
chief executive officer Joe de Mora and the eventual replacement of
board chairwoman Linda Ann Daly as anything but the political hatchet
job many were expecting.
“The hospital’s management and governance teams, embodied in de Mora and
Daly, have clearly been a pain in the neck for health ministry officials
– specifically in their very loud and public demands for more funding
“De Mora and the KGH directors had clearly run afoul of the provincial
government. Outgoing Health Minister George Smitherman was not happy
with the recurring deficit budgets, projected at $13.5 million for
2007-08 and $27.5 million for 2008-09.
“Then came the KGH campaign calling for more money to deal with those
chronic budget shortfalls – a tactic that embarrassed the Liberal
government around the time of last fall’s election.
“And behind the scenes there appears to have been an ongoing dispute
between KGH and the southeast region’s Local Health Integration Network
(LHIN), the provincial body in charge of all health-care issues.
“This type of conflict is not new. In fact, Scott’s report refers to the
‘often combative relationship’ that exists between many hospitals and
the provincial health ministry. But KGH carried on the feud in its
dealings with the newly formed LHIN, and that didn’t sit well with the
Liberal government that created the LHINS.”
For his part, Scott criticized the ‘top-down’ management style at
Kingston General, and hints that the management team did not adopt the
best cost-control practices available to them. “If there is a sad
reality in the conclusions, it is the lost time and opportunity to
better serve patients and running-up of substantial debt which will
limit the flexibility of the hospital as these matters are addressed and
corrected,” Scott wrote.