LHINs, board set Kincardine hospital's direction

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The future of Kincardine’s hospital will be shaped jointly by the efforts of the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and the board of the South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC).

LHINs are a not-for-profit crown agency set up by the Ontario government to work with local health providers. The LHINs are in charge of funding hospitals, but won’t allocate how care is provided in each hospital. LHINs are run by a nine-person board of directors, as well as a full staff.

Earlier this year, LHIN representatives met with each of the 20 hospitals in the south west region. Each hospital had to sign an accountability agreement with the LHIN that lays out funding and services requirements at each hospital until 2010.

Each hospital was required to submit a balanced budget, which the SBGHC did. The accountability agreement goes on to list the minimum care requirements expected of the hospital in areas including: full-time nursing hours, critical care, mental health in-patients and emergency room visits.

The agreement lays out that the SBGHC cannot transfer services away from one hospital to the point that the facility can no longer meet the minimum standards of care.

SBGHC CEO Paul Davies has already committed to maintaining core services at each SBGHC site, including Kincardine. These services include: emergency, in-patient medical beds, ultrasound and general radiology and inpatient physiotherapy.

In the agreement, hospitals are required to have a copy of the accountability agreement in a public place. The SBGHC’s agreement, and an outline of the budget at the Kincardine site, is available through the SBGHC website.

There are 14 hospitals within the South West LHINs jurisdiction. The LHINs 2008/2009 budget is $1.9-billion. According to the accountability report, a little more than $27-million of that money is designated for the operation of the Kincardine site.