2023 Annual General Meeting
The 2023 Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday, June 27 at 7:00 pm in the Octagon Room, 95 Spring Street, Almonte, Ontario.
Notes for remarks by Carol Anne Esnard, Allied Boards Chair - June 27, 2023
Good evening members and guests,
It is my pleasure, as Chair of the Allied Boards of Directors for the Mississippi River Health Alliance, to deliver remarks to this 68th Annual General Meeting of the Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital and to this 61st Annual General Meeting of the Almonte General Hospital.
Reflecting on this past year, I must declare that 2022-23 has been a banner year for both hospitals in terms of projects and initiatives that not only bode well for the future of these institutions, but also benefit our communities in terms of providing excellent health care close to home. What is most impressive is that these projects and activities occurred despite the constraints, challenges and stresses the pandemic continued to place on staff, as well as on the hospitals’ operations.
Before highlighting a few of the achievements of this past year, I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and gratitude to a number of people, who were (and continue to be) so critical to the positive outcomes we achieved this past year.
Our incredible medical staff and front line workers. The hospitals would simply not be the responsible and caring institutions that they are without this cohort of dedicated people who show up every day to provide the best possible health care to our patients. Everyone delivered – be it Fairview Manor, Lanark County Paramedic Services, hospital inpatient units, emergency departments, ambulatory care and surgical services, maintenance, housekeeping, laundry, food services, pharmacy, diagnostic imaging, allied health health, health records and registration, finance, human resources. They really did “punch above their weight” and they worked together as a team, showing collective resilience and dedication as they navigated their way through a so-called “pandemic recovery year”. For all of the above, we are deeply grateful.
Our outstanding Leadership Team. This is the group of individuals that works quietly but effectively behind the scenes in order to keep the hospitals running like well-oiled machines. Being in leadership roles carries with it weighty responsibilities. This group of individuals worked many hours, over and above their normal work load, dealing seamlessly with pandemic business – be it putting in place mitigation measures
for on-site precautions, submitting regular data reports to ministries, submitting grant applications to the ministries for additional funding to offset unexpected pandemic expenses, addressing staff shortages, and in some cases even taking on front line responsibilities.
Under the leadership of President and CEO, Mary Wilson Trider, much deserved kudos are extended to our intrepid Senior Management Team – Kimberley Harbord, Integrated VP of Diagnostic Services and CFO; Randy Shaw, Integrated VP of Corporate Support Services and Capital Projects; Sara Cousineau, Integrated VP Human Resources, Dr. Allyson Champagne, CPDMH Chief of Staff, Dr. Graeme McKillop, AGH Chief of Staff, Dr. Gillian Buckley, President CPDMH Medical Staff, Dr. Jordan Milko, President of the AGH Medical Staff, and Lianne Learmonth, Integrated VP Patient and Resident Services and Chief Nursing Executive. I would like to offer my very special thanks to Loralie Hachey, who stepped up to the plate for 9 months as interim Chief Nursing Executive prior to Lianne’s arrival. Loralie’s leadership provided stability to the Patient and Resident Care portfolio with an approach to daily operational issues that was always grounded in what was best for the patients, residents and staff. I also would like to take this moment to personally thank Mary Wilson Trider for the advice and guidance she gave me this past year as I assumed the responsibilities of inaugural Chair of the Allied Boards of the Mississippi River Health Alliance.
Our very competent administrative support team. A huge group “shout out” to Tina McLelland, Angie Kelly and Cindy Skebo - who did an exceptional job, day in and day out, supporting the Senior Management Team as well as the Allied Boards and its committees. They really are the glue that held it all together.
Our hospitals’ Foundation staff and volunteers. No remarks would be complete without acknowledging the yeoman work undertaken by the staff and volunteers of the hospitals’ two Foundations, under the leadership of CPDMH Foundation Chair, Linda McGreevy, and Executive Director, Robyn Arseneau; and under the leadership of the AGH Foundation Chair, Rob Scott, and Managing Director, Al Roberts. As you are well aware, the provincial government only provides funds for capital projects and hospital operations. Thus,when it comes to the purchase of replacement or new medical and clinical equipment, staff education as well as hospital redevelopment renovations, the hospitals looks to their Foundations to
raise the necessary funds. This past year alone, the Foundations committed to donate close to $500K to each hospital. Furthermore, this past year also saw each Foundation quarterbacking significant capital campaigns - in CP, the Emergency Department campaign, guided by campaign co-chairs Laurie Cavanaugh and Richard Kidd, is closing in on its goal to raise $5M; and in Almonte, the CT scanner campaign, guided by campaign chair Seth Richards, is closing in on its goal to raise $3M. Both of these projects are expected to have ribbon cutting ceremonies in 2024...so stay tuned for even more exciting announcements next year!
Many thanks to the volunteers and staff of both Foundations for the tremendous effort they have put forward this past year. And our deepest thanks and gratitude to our very generous communities who understand and appreciate the benefits of having excellent health care close to home.
The directors of the Allied Boards. My sincere appreciation goes to my fellow allied directors who gave me the privilege of serving as their inaugural Chair of the Allied Boards this past year. Although one can expect that the first year of the two hospital boards governing as one – the Allied Boards – would be a transition year with maybe a few bumps along the way....the ride has actually been very smooth and very, very collegial. As the Allied Boards, we should be very proud of the courageous and strategic decisions taken over the course of the year to endorse forward-thinking initiatives which will lead to a brighter future for our two hospitals. No one ever said governance was easy...but your collective wisdom sure made it seem that way. We do have four allied directors who will be leaving at the end of this term – Faith Bird, Louise Heslop, Dave Perley, and Chelsea Snyder. Your contributions to the Allied Boards will not go unnoticed as we have put aside time at this Annual General Meeting to formally thank each of you for your service.
Let me conclude my remarks by commenting on the Mississippi River Health Alliance. The Alliance’s purpose is to identify collaborative opportunities which support the best possible integrated care close to home for all the communities served by the two hospitals. The Alliance’s tag line says it rather nicely – “ Better Together. The very best care close to home.” You will hear more details on specific activities and projects undertaken by the Alliance this past year from the reports of our CEO, Mary Wilson Trider and our Chiefs of Staff – Dr. Graeme McKillop and Dr. Allyson Champagne – but let me mention a few touch points which in my view, illustrates how the Alliance continues to go from strength to strength to strength in terms of collaboration for the sole purpose of bringing great health care close to home:
The Allied Boards working together to refresh the two hospitals common five-year strategic plan... with a new vision statement - “Together, the Mississippi River Health Alliance partners will lead the development of an integrated health system that provides the very best health care close to home” and a new mission statement - “To provide integrated health care that meets the evolving life-long needs of our communities”.
The all-in preparation approach by the two hospitals’ departmental staff for the Accreditation Canada assessment process which took place in May 2023. The process assesses the hospitals’ programs, processes and procedures for the purpose of ensuring the highest achievable quality for patients. Accreditation is a really big deal and our hospitals have always done well. We expect to have the assessment results very soon, and I am sure both hospitals will do very well.
Capital Projects on both hospital campuses - Who could not but get excited at finally witnessing the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Emergency Department for the CP hospital and literally witnessing in real time its construction as we speak? Who could not get excited at the positive news from the Ontario Ministry of Health to go to tender for a CT scanner for the AG hospital - a much needed standard of care service which will soon be available to our communities?
My last touch point is somewhat tangential to the work of the Allied Boards, but it is worthy of mention as it speaks to the efforts undertaken by our physicians in both CP and Almonte to work collaboratively for the health benefit of the communities they serve.
The Ottawa Valley Family Health Team (based in Almonte) received the green light from the Ministry of Health for a regional expansion of its primary care services and introduction of specialized disease management programming to the communities of Carleton Place and Beckwith. Not only is this great news in terms of the impact this will have on the delivery of primary health care for our communities, but it will also be a strong impetus to attract new physicians to our catchment area. Our sincere thanks and gratitude go out to Dr. Jamie Fullerton for his vision, drive and leadership in the achievement of this amazing outcome.
Equally instrumental in driving this initiative and deserving of our recognition are Drs. Gillian Buckley, Emilie Meyers, Allyson Champagne, Karen Turcotte and Marisa Rossi, as well as Peter Hamer and Tanya Brydges from the Ottawa Valley Family Health Team.
Looking ahead, we need to continue to adapt and innovate as we emerge from a pandemic work environment. Through the Mississippi River Health Alliance, we need to continue to push and nurture the upward positive trending of our hospitals to become epicentres of excellent health care.
And finally, we need to continue to celebrate and support our brilliant leadership team, medical staff and front-line workers, as it is because of their resilience and what they do day-in and day-out that allows us to say we have the best health care close to home. Our hospitals may be small, but believe you me, they are mighty!!
Carol Anne Esnard
Notes for remarks by Graeme McKillop, Almonte General Hospital Chief of Staff - June 27, 2023
As I enter the 4th year of the 2 year position as Chief of Staff, naturally I’m thinking about physician leadership development and succession planning.
Here at AGH we have a number of potential leaders amongst our medical staff. However, for the most part, they are young, have demanding clinical responsibilities, busy personal lives and they may feel they don’t have the skills required to take on an administrative role.
Going forward, I think leadership skill development is an area worthy of investment by our hospitals. One of my goals for this year is to help interested medical staff identify and access that training and I hope the MRHA Board will support me in this.
Nearly every week, in the clinic or in the hospital, patients tell me how grateful they are to to able to receive care here “close to home”. They tell me about the great care they received in the Emergency Department, or that they are so happy to be able to have their surgery locally or to be able to deliver their child here. Our communities treasure these hospitals and they demonstrate that with their generous response to our fundraising campaigns and, like you our Board, with their volunteered time and expertise.
I do worry that frequent Emergency Department closures going forward may start to erode that support. The issue of ER manpower is a complicated one — it’s widespread and that it’s not entirely under our control — but we can’t accept closures as routine. I believe this crisis must be solved and I believe in the hospital leadership’s ability to do that.
Amongst the medical staff, I’d like to recognize Drs. Abramenko, McGarry and Stewardson for their hard work and leadership over the past number of years. They have all contributed greatly to AGH and are now deservedly stepping off the Medical Advisory Committee. Thank you all.
And thank you to the Board for your continued support of me in my role as Chief of Staff. This job is a long way from clinical work and it’s been a great opportunity and a real education.
Graeme McKillop, Chief of Staff
Notes for remarks by Mary Wilson Trider, President & CEO, Almonte General Hospital - June 27, 2023
Notes for remarks by Lyman Gardiner, Almonte General Hospital Board Finance Committee Chair - June 27, 2023
Download the 2022 Report to the Community