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No tangible evidence of savings for Hospice in LHIN plan

Ms. Georgina Thompson
Chair, South East LHIN
48 Dundas St. W. Unit 2
Belleville ON K8P 1Ag

Dear Georgina:
I am writing to you at the direction of the Board of Hospice Prince Edward in regard to the SELHIN current Back Office lntegration Project.

To date, Hospice Prince Edward has participated actively in this initiative both directly and indirectly. Hospice Prince Edward is a community-based organization which currently receives an annual contribution to its budget from the LHIN of about $61 thousand dollars. Our core commitment is to the vision which we share with the LHIN of “‘achieving better health through proactive, integrated and responsive health care in partnership with an informed community.”

As you know, we are pursuing this commitment by working toward the integration of end-of-life care in Prince Edward County in partnership with other agencies delivering services in our community, including the Family Health Team, Quinte Healthcare Corporation, Prince Edward Community Care for Seniors and other local service providers. The potential exists here, especially as we move toward co-location, to share certain back office functions as well. Moreover, we are also working with a local service club to explore the possibility of creating a joint Hospice Centre to provide residential hospice and other services which will not only improve service to the community, but will also reduce cost to the health care system by freeing up hospital beds and related services.

Under these circumstances, our participation in the still-evolving Back Office lntegration Project is, in fact, creating a serious drain on our organization in terms of administrative time and energy – most of which is contributed by volunteers. We simply do not have the resources to attend the numerous meetings and to undertake further evaluations of the voluminous reports and projections that have been developed under LHIN auspices, especially since the recent briefing session on September 14 indicated that these proposals remain incomplete and speculative in many of their costs and applications. We are facing the risk, not only of losing our capacity to pursue real opportunities for integration at the community level, but this project is also taking focus and capacity away from the client services to palliative clients and bereaved families that are our primary responsibility within our community.

It is especially important to note that a volunteer-based organization such as ours is by its nature cost efficient, since salary-related expenditures are always the biggest component in the operational budgets of health service organizations. Volunteers are motivated by giving back to their local community; they will not continue to serve if we turn them into unpaid bureaucrats. We are deeply concerned that regional consolidation will destroy or significantly harm our organization, and other community volunteer agencies.

Based on the current state of the Back Office lntegration proposals, we can only see continued distraction of limited resources to participate in an implementation process which is not well-tailored to our organization’s needs and which offers no tangible evidence of savings at this point. Since we have fully met the requirements of our current Service Accountability Agreement through our participation in these investigations to date, we are taking this opportunity to inform you that we intend to pause at this time before participating any further in this crrmplex enterprise. We are prepared to reconsider this decision once the LHIN is able to provide us with specific, data-based evidence that the Back Office lntegration Project will deliver cost savings to our organization that will enhance our abillty to provide services for clients in our community.

When he introduced the draft Local Health System lntegration Act into the Legislature, the former Minister of Health stated that “The best way to make decisions about change is as close to the ground as possible” and that “decisions must be made on the basis of public interest and in the full view of the public”.
We look forward to negotiating our new Service Accountability Agreement with these principles in mind.

Mark H. Larratt-Smith
President
(on behalf of the Hospice Prince Edward Board)
cc:
Regional CSS agencies
Local Media
SE LHIN Board Members
Paul Huras, CEO, SE LHIN
Leona Dombrowsky, M.P. P.
Leo Finnegan, Mayor, Prince Edward County

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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