Highlights of the Board of Directors regular public meeting

Moncton, Tuesday, October 8, 2019 – The Board of Directors of Vitalité Health Network held its regular public meeting on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 in Moncton. 

Patient- and family-centred care setting

As planned in early 2019, the Network recently established the Patient and Family Advisory Committee. This committee is made up of patients and family members, dubbed “patient experience partners,” from the Network’s four zones along with members of management. The committee’s purpose is to promote and support a patient- and family-centred care culture. The Committee Chair, Thérèse Tremblay, summarized for the Board of Directors the committee’s terms of reference and responsibilities and its accomplishments to date. 

Provincial genetic medicine service – Network request granted

Gilles Lanteigne informed the Board of Directors that the Department of Health had officially approved the Network’s request for a provincial mandate to create a genetic medicine program for all New Brunswick residents.  “The Network’s 2017–2020 Strategic Plan includes the creation of such a program and the expanded delivery of specialized medical and professional services,” he stated. He also noted that the Network had hired a geneticist as well as a genetics counsellor and that the New Brunswick Centre for Precision Medicine included a major genetics component. “This is excellent news that will strengthen our expertise in genetic medicine.” 

The Network must now submit an operational plan to the Department of Health to ensure this new program is implemented satisfactorily.  Horizon Health Network as well as the Maritime Medical Genetics Service of the IWK Health Centre are partners involved in this project and will be consulted as the plan is developed.

Ongoing transformation of the Restigouche Hospital Centre (RHC)

The President and CEO updated the members on the initiatives underway to transform the Restigouche Hospital Centre (RHC). “The Network remains focused on achieving its objective of transforming the RHC and implementing the six recommendations in the Weber report,” he stated. “A scorecard is now in place to regularly monitor 16 results indicators and measurements, seven of which were included in the Weber report. All RHC nursing units have now implemented safety huddles, and the process of training additional staff to become Omega trainers is underway.”

To recognize the nursing specialty specific to a mental health and forensic psychiatry tertiary care centre such as the RHC, on September 13 the Network announced a five percent premium for nurses (current and future) choosing to work at the RHC, with the objective being to promote recruitment and retention.  This initiative also meets one of the recommendations of the Weber report.  With respect to the medical staff, work is ongoing with the Department of Health, which has approved a plan for replacement psychiatrists (“locums”). As for the alternative funding plan (AFP), it is currently being studied by the Department of Health. Under this plan, FTEs would be allocated to general psychiatry and forensic psychiatry and working conditions would be adjusted to improve recruitment and retention.

Again in accordance with the recommendations of the Weber report, the RHC has joined the Mental Health and Addictions Quality Initiative (MHAQI), a national mental health quality network. “Joining this initiative will give us the opportunity to become a leader and to measure ourselves against national standards and best practices,” Mr. Lanteigne stated.

George Weber, a mental health expert hired by the Department of Health, will be at the RHC on October 15 and 16, 2019. He will be meeting with various people from the facility for an update on implementation of the improvement measures, progress on the action plans, and implementation of the recommendations in his report.

Financial results for the 2019–2020 fiscal year

The Network presented its financial results for the first four months of the 2019–2020 fiscal year, i.e. from April 1 to July 31, 2019; the organization ended the period with a $1.48 million operating deficit. This deficit was primarily due to spending on major renovation projects that began last year but continued this year and to new projects that began this summer. These preliminary results will be adjusted in the course of the fiscal year.

The next regular public meeting of the Board of Directors of Vitalité Health Network will be held on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at 1:00 p.m., in Edmundston.