From The Gazette

Lachine

Lachine Hospital removed from MUHC jurisdiction

Quebec Health Minister Réjean Hébert has yanked Lachine Hospital from the jurisdiction of the bilingual McGill University Health Centre in order to preserve its “francophone vocation,” The Gazette has learned.

The decision has stunned physicians at the MUHC and throws a wrench into the MUHC’s planned transfer of dialysis and other medical services to the Lachine Hospital, which is known locally as St. Joseph’s. The decision also comes as the MUHC is struggling to overcome a projected $115-million deficit, a shortfall that is greater than all the hospitals of Montreal combined.

Reaction was swift and unequivocal by staff at Lachine Hospital, which is celebrating its centennial this year.

“We don’t want to be divorced from the MUHC,” said Dr. Paul Saba, president of the hospital’s council of physicians, dentists and pharmacists.

“We benefit from our links to the MUHC. Yes, Lachine is a francophone hospital and its historical roots should be protected. But we can do that within the framework of the MUHC.”

MUHC officials were still digesting the news Wednesday and said they would respond in full on Thursday.

However, a hastily drafted resolution by the MUHC’s council of physicians, dentists and pharmacists “strongly disapproves and objects to the proposed severance of the Lachine Hospital from the MUHC.

“Severance of the Lachine Hospital will jeopardize several MUHC medical organizational plans, including … the plan to transfer hemodialysis services to the Lachine Hospital and will also restrict the ability to deliver primary surgical and family services there.”

In a letter dated Dec. 20, but only received by the MUHC on Monday, Hébert said Lachine Hospital would revert to the control of a community health network, the Centre de santé et des services sociaux Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle. In the letter, obtained by The Gazette, Hébert does not refer to the MUHC’s troubled finances as the reason for pulling Lachine Hospital out of the MUHC.

Rather, Hébert alludes to the “concerns expressed by different stakeholders” whom he consulted. He does not elaborate on those concerns.

“In an analysis of solutions that can be contemplated,” Hébert says in the letter, “I accord a particular importance to the fact that this institution must be re-integrated into a local network of the French language and that it pursue its historical vocation.”

The letter is addressed to Danielle McCann, president and director-general of the Montreal Health and Social Services Agency, whom he instructs to spearhead the changes. Claudio Bussandri, chairman of the MUHC board of directors, is copied, along with Isabelle Brault, chairperson of the board of the CSSS Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle.

Earlier on Wednesday, Saba and his colleagues were relieved to learn that Hébert announced that the government was reconsidering a plan to cut 10 beds out of Lachine Hospital’s 50. Those beds are designated for long-term care, and help unblock the hospital’s congested emergency room.

Addressing reporters in Quebec City, Hébert said that Lachine is an “important francophone hospital,” and he suggested that cutting beds is far from an ideal solution. He did not disclose that Lachine Hospital would no longer be part of the MUHC.

The MUHC entered into a partnership with Lachine Hospital in 2008, assuming management of the beleaguered institution. The MUHC has since set up bariatric surgery at Lachine, among other services, and recruited top-flight physicians to work there. It was also planning $55 million in renovations.

Those renovations are now on hold, as well as the future role of the MUHC physicians hired to work there.

Saba argued that it doesn’t make sense for Lachine Hospital to be folded back into the CSSS Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle, which tried to eliminate its ER in 2007.

“I had a meeting with (Hébert) at the beginning of December, and it was made very clear that we didn’t want to go back to the CSSS Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle,” Saba said. “We found that the experience we had with the CSSS was very negative and totally unacceptable.”

He added that Hébert’s decision is “coloured by the MUHC’s deficit.” Although he acknowledged that Lachine Hospital’s relationship with the MUHC is sometimes shaky, Saba said it’s in the best interests of the hospital to stay part of the McGill network.

Ariane Lareau, Hébert’s press attaché, could not be reached to comment on the opposition to the minister’s decision.

 

2 comments

  1. Its clear .. that Quebec Health Minister Réjean Hébert and the PQ`s Pauline Marois have no clue on what there are doing and have lie`d to their voters across the board !! They have changed their minds on every promise they made .. They screem Liberal corruption, well I got some news for Pauline …Quebec is corrupt always was always will be !!

  2. By Darlene Cadney

    My aunt is a resident at Camille Lefebvre which is connected to the Lachine General Hospital. Their emergency department saved her life so my opinion of the hospital is very positive. To pull them out of the MUHC on their 100th anniversary is brutal!!

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