RMH ‘special act’ passed by legislature
Kelly Isfan, president and CEO of Ross Memorial Hospital, issued a statement following ‘Bill PR65 2022 – An Act respecting the Ross Memorial Hospital’ passing third reading in the Ontario Legislature today:
“Ross Memorial Hospital was incorporated by a Special Act of the Ontario legislature in 1903, as a result of a gift from James Ross to create the hospital. One of the implications of incorporation by a Special Act is the hospital needs to return to the Ontario legislature every time an amendment is required. This is a time consuming and cumbersome process. RMH has had to amend its Special Act three times for various reasons – in 1954, 1964 and 2000.
As health care in Ontario continues to evolve, it was necessary to amend the Special Act again so that it is consistent with language used by public hospitals across Ontario.
The majority of Ontario hospital boards operate under modern and effective skills-based membership models. No matter the size or location of a hospital, this type of board is commonly accepted as best practice and is in-line with best practice guidelines set out by the Ontario Hospital Association. Hospital boards have a duty to implement structures that support the board’s legal roles and responsibilities, while safeguarding against special interest influence or conflict of interest. Good governance is grounded in a commitment to the mission and fulfilling the corporations’ accountabilities, while also serving the needs of stakeholders.
Ross Memorial Hospital’s Board of Governors includes 12 independent, voting community members, and this structure will continue under the new Special Act. Patient and family involvement in decision-making is very important to us. We include patient, family and community member advisory roles on Board Committees and will continue to do so. Community members are still invited and welcomed to attend future Annual General Meetings. The hospital will also continue issuing its Annual Report to the community in June, as per usual.
Contrary to claims being made in the community, there is no language in the Special Act that contemplates the hospital closing or turning into a non-acute care facility. Regardless, the Ministry of Health has processes to determine if any change in services proposed by an Ontario hospital are in the public interest. As our community continues to grow, the need for acute care services is evident to anyone in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
We are deeply invested in doing what’s right for patients and families. Our steadfast commitment has been demonstrated over the past two plus years of the pandemic. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Ross Memorial Hospital is dedicated to providing vital acute care services to our community.”