Front row from left: Barbara Effenberger, Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer, Blanche River Health; and Jorge VanSlyke, President and CEO, BRH. Back row, from left: Rebecca Kelsey, Senior Consultant, Strategy and Member Relations, Ontario Hospital Association; Martha Cope, Vice President, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer, BRH; Melissa Prokopy, Vice President, Policy and Advocacy, OHA; Sundeep Sodhi, Chief, Strategy, Member Relations and Long-Term Health Policy, OHA; Chester Jobson, Chair, Blanche River Health Board of Directors; and Anthony Dale, President and CEO, OHA.
Blanche River Health recently hosted Anthony Dale, President and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), as part of a series of visits he is making to Northern Ontario hospitals to better understand the unique and evolving roles they play in their communities.
“The remoteness of the North makes it harder to attract family doctors and other clinicians to care for our patients, who often need to travel great distances to see specialists," said Jorge VanSlyke, President and CEO, Blanche River Health. “Northern hospitals fill the gaps as much as possible, and I appreciate the OHA's dedication to understanding the unique pressures we face."
The visit began with a walkabout of the Kirkland Lake site of Blanche River Health, a two-site hospital corporation in Northeastern Ontario which offers 24/7 Emergency Departments, inpatient and outpatient services, specialty clinics, physiotherapy, respiratory therapy, oncology and other services.
The shortage of physicians, nurses and other clinicians was a topic of discussion during the visit, as well as the importance of non-urgent transport, hospital governance practices by the Blanche River Health Board of Directors, and plans to upgrade infrastructure.
“It is important to understand the unique pressures Northern Ontario hospitals face, delivering care in remote and underserviced communities with aging populations," said Dale. “We gained valuable insights into Blanche River Health's challenges and successes, and look forward to applying what we learned as we continue to work together towards improved patient experiences and outcomes."
Blanche River Health is a 74-bed hospital corporation with two sites serving the North Eastern Ontario communities of Englehart (26 beds) and Kirkland Lake (48 beds) as well as residents in surrounding areas.