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LETTER: Doctor, nurse, patient groups endorse OSMH board change

'It’s time to move forward and position our hospital to take advantage of the exciting opportunities ahead of everyone,' says OSMH leadership
Dr. Lindsay Alston, chief of staff at Orillia's Soldiers' Memorial Hospital, left, and Jill Colin, chief nursing executive at the hospital, are among the leadership that are in support of the hospital moving toward a skills-based corporate membership.

OrilliaMatters welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via the website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is from Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital leadership representing physicians, nurses, patients and caregivers in support of moving towards a 'skills-based' corporate membership model.

Collectively, the leadership representing physicians, nurses, patients and caregivers at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) is writing in support of transitioning the governance of Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) towards a ‘skills-based’ membership model as recommended by the OSMH Board of Directors.

The OSMH Medical Advisory Committee (MAC), which comprises physicians who serve as Department Chiefs and Program Medical Directors throughout the hospital, has unanimously endorsed the proposal based on best-practice evidence.

Physicians in Orillia are genuinely excited about the future of our organization, especially as we plan for a new hospital. It’s important that everyone in Orillia have a voice in the future of hospital care without a financial barrier. Physicians believe strongly in that principle and are confident in the multiple mechanisms already in place to ensure the patient and community voice is not only heard, but acted upon.  

In addition to the MAC, the larger CSA (Credentialed Staff Association) at OSMH which includes physicians, midwives and dentists with privileges at OSMH, has reviewed the proposed bylaw changes and offered its endorsement. 

Nurses too strive for best practice in healthcare and strongly believe this concept should be applied to the governance of our organization to achieve our shared purpose – ‘We are a community that is committed to improving health and wellness’. 

Nobody should have to pay to have their say in how a hospital is run. Back in 1909, when our current corporate membership model was first adopted, financially contributing to a hospital had a different connotation, as it came decades before universal healthcare and access to a hospital was not a guarantee.  

Times have changed, but this element of our bylaws has not. OSMH remains the only hospital or not-for-profit agency in our region with a paid corporate membership structure in place.

A prime mechanism for direct community engagement at OSMH has been the growth and influence of its Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), providing feedback on a wide range of matters from the creation of an Essential Care Partners program to support for patient caregivers. At a special meeting of PFAC in December 2023 to learn more about the proposed governance change, the Council passed a motion of unanimous support. 

The growth and positive energy that Orillia is experiencing today is unlike anytime before. The multiple positive healthcare announcements in our community over the past months are proof of this progress.  It’s time to move forward and position our hospital to take advantage of the exciting opportunities ahead of everyone. 

On behalf of:

OSMH Medical Advisory Committee

Dr. L. Alston, Chief of Staff

Dr. M. Colpitts, President – CSA 

Dr. G. Salmers, Vice-President/Treasurer – CSA 

Dr. S. DePiero, Chief of Anaesthesia

Dr. N. Wortsman, Chief of Diagnostic Imaging

Dr. D. Sangster, Chief of Emergency Medicine

Dr. M. Smith, Chief of Family Medicine

Dr. M. Rieckenberg, Chief of Lab Services

Dr. S. Vimalendran, Chief of Medicine

Dr. R. Smith, Chief of Neonatal/Paediatric Medicine

Dr. J. Green, Chief of Obstetrics

Dr. D. Guller, Chief of Psychiatry

Dr. J. Xing, Chief of Surgery

Dr. H. Cape, Program Medical Director 

Dr. K. McIntosh, Program Medical Director

Dr. S. Barker, Program Medical Director

Tamara Smith, RN ICU

Ontario Nurses Association Local Bargaining Unit President

Jill Colin, RN BScN MN

OSMH Chief Nursing Executive/VP-Patient Care

Barb Shakell-Barkey, Chair

OSMH Patient and Family Advisory Council