CKHA is going to a single corporation and board of directors. Nov 16, 2017. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

CKHA Board Merger Plans Moving Ahead

Plans to merge the three hospital boards in Chatham-Kent have been given the green light by the Erie St. Clair LHIN.

None of the local LHIN board members opposed the move from three boards down to one as recommended by Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) supervisor Rob Devitt.

The vote follows 30 days of public input that took place earlier this fall.

Devitt previously told Blackburn News this move would the final chapter of his role overseeing operations at the CKHA adding that he’s hoping to return home by April.

The new board will have 12 directors — one from each of the six wards, one from the first nations community, and five others who will be selected to ensure proper representation of all communities across Chatham-Kent. The first board meeting is tentatively scheduled for the end of February.

A separate move to establish a community advisory panel that would provide input to the board was shot down, though.

Former chair of the Sydenham Hospital Board Sheldon Parsons was among the key supporters for that panel. He previously told Blackburn News that he was hoping an advisory panel would “supplement the board’s work to identify how we can promote better health care services and their delivery across the region, but particularly across the Sydenham, Bkejwanong and St. Clair service area.”

LHIN officials spoke out against the move, saying it could take away a sense of responsibility from the CKHA board.

During Thursday’s LHIN meeting, Parsons also made a point of calling attention to the fact that while the merger is called a “voluntary integration,” it was, in his view, something that was imposed by the provincially-appointed supervisor.

LHIN officials clarified that because the supervisor was appointed by the province to act as the executive member and decision-maker for all three boards, his proposal for integration was still “voluntary,” even though he was the only person making the decision.