Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 25, 2008
Alta. Catholic health care bodies consolidate
Catholic Health care facilities reorganize under 1 board
By WCR Staff
Alberta's 16 Catholic health care facilities are coming together under a single board and administration.
The consolidation, which follows a year of consultation by the Alberta Catholic Health Corporation (ACHC), was announced Aug. 7 by the Alberta bishops.
The new organization will be known as Catholic Health of Alberta during a transition period and be renamed in the fall.
The consolidation will bring together more than 8,800 workers and 2,700 volunteers in Banff, Bonnyville, Camrose, Castor, Edmonton, Killam, Lethbridge, Mundare, St. Albert, Trochu and Vegreville.
Patrick Dumelie, CEO of the Edmonton-based Caritas Health Group, will also serve as interim CEO of the new organization.
Dumelie told the WCR the initiative for consolidating the governance structures of the 16 facilities came from the facilities themselves and they approved it unanimously.
The new structure will serve three purposes, he said. It will:
- "Harness the strength" that already exists in the 16 institutions.
- Enable Catholic health care to better meet the needs of the vulnerable today and in the future.
- Give Catholic health the most effective voice in dealing with its partners, including the provincial government.
While a new board and management will be appointed to oversee the new integrated organization, Dumelie said the existing hospital boards for each facility will become community boards.
Those boards will keep each facility's ties to their local community as well as helping to set direction for the province-wide board. They will also be accountable to the provincial board.
As religious orders that established the health-care facilities withdrew from ownership of the institutions, the Alberta bishops have striven over the last quarter century to maintain the Catholic identity of those facilities.
Ownership of some of the facilities has been gradually transferred to the ACHC whose task it is to retain and develop that Catholic character.
The new organization will direct and manage Catholic facilities in 11 communities across Alberta with a total of almost 2,400 beds and a total budget of more than $514 million.
Sixty-five per cent of that budget is taken up by two of the 16 facilities - Edmonton's Grey Nuns Community Hospital and Misericordia Community Hospital.
The 16 facilities provide a range of services, including acute care, continuing care, assisted living, hospice, rehabilitation and respite care, and seniors' housing.
The bishops have appointed a six-member board led by John Brennan of Edmonton to replace the current ACHC board of directors effective Aug. 7.
The plan calls for the new governance and management structure to be completed by Oct. 1.
"Building on a 145-year legacy, the new organization will strengthen our mission to continue the healing ministry of Jesus and our ability to meet the needs of Albertans with compassion, resourcefulness and dedication," said Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, on behalf of the bishops.
"We believe this presents an exciting opportunity to refresh the vision for Catholic health care in the province and grow to be of greater service to our communities."
Brennan, the board chair, said Catholic Health of Alberta will work closely with the new Alberta Health Services Board and other providers across the province to ensure that the Catholic facilities deliver quality, holistic care to all who need it.
"Coordination of programs and services, sharing of expertise and resources, improved communications and a single point of leadership and accountability will benefit all our operations," he said.
The reorganization is not expected to have any impact on the jobs of front-line workers or the continued contribution of these facilities to their communities.