Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 28, 2008
East Central Hospitals merge
Interim Catholic health board will oversee transition
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Four Catholic hospitals in the East Central Heath region are merging into one entity to provide more effective care.
St. Mary's Hospital in Camrose, Killam Health Care Centre, St. Joseph's in Vegreville and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Mundare are already being run by a five-member interim board appointed by the Alberta Catholic Health Corporation (ACHC).
The four hospitals, which provide a range of services in the East Central Health region, have been part of the ACHC for a number of years. The ACHC, an organization of the Alberta Catholic Bishops, has 16 care facilities under its wing, including Caritas Health Group in Edmonton.
"Those four separate hospitals will be coming together under one board and one administrative structure to provide more effective service within the East Central Health region," Michael Shea, the ACHA's chief executive officer, said in an April 23 interview.
"For the Alberta Catholic Health Corporation this is an opportunity, we think, to strengthen Catholic health care in that region."
The merger also aims to strengthen the partnership between the four facilities and the East Central Health region through coordination of programs and services, sharing of resources, improved communication and cooperation with the region and a single point of leadership and accountability.
"This is an important step in ensuring the long, rich legacy of Catholic organizations providing compassionate care in Alberta continues," ACHC board chair Tom Wispinski said in a recent news release.
The decision to merge was made after extensive discussions about how best to move forward into the future as Catholic health providers, explained Shea. "(Stakeholders realized that) working together will provide more strength than working independently as small separate organizations."
The four hospitals together have about 700 employees who provide a range of services, including acute care and continuing care.
The boards that used to operate each of the hospitals have been replaced by one interim Catholic health board appointed by the ACHC to oversee the transition to one organization. A permanent board that is inclusive of the communities it serves will replace the interim board some time in May.
Patrick Dumelie, president of Caritas Health Group in Edmonton, has been appointed by the ACHC to act as the interim CEO of the consolidated Catholic health organization. He will work with the organization's board to develop the new governance structure and with the East Central Health Region to improve accountability and communication.