Sault Area Hospital (SAH) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 22, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was not open to the public, the agenda was brief and the traditional annual iCcare and Dr. Hutchinson Awards have been postponed until further notice.
In AGM business, for 2020/2021, Sharon Kirkpatrick will serve as Board Chair, Mario Turco as First Vice Chair and Jim McLean as Second Vice Chair. We welcome incoming Board members, Armand Capisciolto, Mark Lepore, Joe Santa Maria and Brent Rankin and Peggy Storey-Inkster who will serve as the hospital’s Volunteer Association Board Liaison. Thank you to our outgoing board members Bill Kerr, Greg Peres, and Debbie Romani. SAH would like to acknowledge the loss of one of our valued Board members, Brian Bumbacco, who passed away in March 2020.
Sharon Kirkpatrick, Board Chair, Wendy Hansson, President & CEO and Dr. Silvana Spadafora, Chief of Staff presented their annual reports to Board members. The following were some highlights:
· For the year ended March 31, 2020, SAH is reporting a surplus from hospital operations in the amount of $700,000.
· SAH successfully implemented ONE, our new MEDITECH Expanse Electronic Medical Record in partnership with 2 other northeastern Ontario hospital partner sites which will support improved care delivery and patient outcomes.
· Our community continues its focus on physician recruitment. SAH in partnership with the City of SSM and community stakeholders such as the Group Health Centre pursued new recruits and explored new service models for care delivery with our new physicians. SAH credentialed over 300 physicians.
· Our Patient and Family Advisory program remain strong and we increased the number of advisors, growing to over 80 members.
· We have an astounding 530 volunteers that are dedicated to giving and being of service to the community. We have had new leaders, physicians, and staff joins our organization, including the hiring of over 173 new staff comprised of 69 nurses, 32 allied health professionals and 72 support team members and leaders.
· Partnerships played a key role in 2019-20. In the spring of 2019, SAH in partnership with 18 local health care organizations came together to submit a self-assessment application to the Ministry of Health, signaling our desire to become an Ontario Health Team (OHT). Through the creation of a shared vision, we have come together to collaborate and build solutions to ensure we are united in our goal to improve the health of our community. The government has provided positive signals that our application is well underway towards official designation.
· SAH has made progress on our application to develop 128 long term care beds – a Ministry licensing process to which there are many stages. Having more long term care beds will ensure the frail elderly will have better access to the right care space and care team in a timely way, instead of waiting in an acute care bed. This will ensure better outcomes and quality of life for our seniors.
· The hospital forged stronger alliances with our academic research partners, specifically the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Algoma University and Sault College. This will help us build a sustained workforce and bring new evidence based solutions to tackle the opioid crisis. A unique strength of our collaborative approach involves Indigenous leaders and communities with the intent to create a holistic approach to mental illness and addictions by integrating Indigenous knowledge with western science.
· Significant improvements were made in the Mental Health & Addictions Program including increasing the number of Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine sites. A new service of nurse- supported withdrawal management was introduced. An addictions medicine consult team was initiated to build linkages with inpatient and emergency department services, withdrawal management and community based addictions services. In addition, a pilot project for Concurrent Day and Evening Treatment Services is being introduced, which provides a structured program of treatment for those severely impacted by mental and substance abuse disorders. The sum total of these initiatives, alongside our residential services and acute medical beds, will support the continuum of care and services to those in our community with significant withdrawal needs and addictions.
· In partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital and the efforts of our skilled SAH team, we were able to treat 352 patients for Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI) that otherwise would have received care outside Algoma and away from home and their loved ones. As well, last year 1,000 patients underwent diagnostic Catheterization. Our Cardiac Program met 100% of the Accreditation standards and our excellence in patient care and service continues to advance our capital application to the Ministry to build a second Cath lab at SAH.
SAH, along with all health care organizations and the global community continue to face an unprecedented challenge with the COVID 19 pandemic. This crisis has forced us to rapidly respond to an ever-changing environment. We have had to rethink, reevaluate and reimagine absolutely everything we do in order to safeguard the health and wellbeing our staff, patients and community.
An incredible amount of work was completed at the end of 2019/2020, with the goal to ensure we were prepared to respond to the uncertainties of the novel virus and to protect our health care workers, patients and community. In a matter of weeks, we introduced a robust Assessment Centre, we developed and implemented a complex multi-staged surge plan starting from a patients’ presentation to emergency department, we redesigned our hospital and related processes into COVID and non-COVID zones, and we led in the north by launching in house COVID-19 lab testing. SAH was a strong partner and leader in the local community and at numerous regional and provincial tables.