Upgrades in user-centred care to continue despite pandemic pressures, CIUSSS official pledges
Advances in care outlined at network’s annual Public Information Meeting
Despite the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the difficult conditions it has created, CIUSSS West-Central Montreal has been steadfastly providing users with health care and social services that respond to their needs, an audience was told at the CIUSSS’s Public Information Meeting on November 17.
“Our CIUSSS will continue to base its decisions on the needs of our users,” Samuel Minzberg, Vice-President of the CIUSSS’s Board of Directors, said during the meeting, held on Zoom for the second year in a row.
“However,” Mr. Minzberg promised, “it will not just be business as usual. We will actively look for more ways to widen access to health care and social services, while providing care more quickly, more effectively and always with a compassionate, human touch.”
At the sixth annual Public Information Meeting, online viewers had an opportunity to ask questions of members of Senior Management, who presented an overview and highlights of the CIUSSS’s activities in 2020-2021.
Mr. Minzberg noted that when the CIUSSS came into existence in 2015, it consisted of about three dozen facilities that had previously operated more or less independently. Since then, he said, they have evolved into an inter-connected network where data and support are shared to streamline care.
“In the word ‘CIUSSS’, the letter ‘I’ stands for ‘Integrated,’” Mr. Minzberg said. “This year, we can proudly say that we have demonstrated the true extent of that integration by using it to its greatest advantage to provide superior treatment and care to our users during the pandemic.”
The financial demands of the crisis were evident in the financial report from Carrie Bogante, Director of Finance, who explained that expenses related to COVID-19 totalled $229.4 million.
Most of this sum went to salaries or the recruitment of new staff, with the greatest proportions spent in the Support Program for the Autonomy of Seniors (34 per cent), the Jewish General Hospital (20 per cent) and Frontline Services (19 per cent).
Ms. Bogante also noted that the CIUSSS had overall expenses of $1.147 billion and revenues of $1.144 billion. When these figures are combined with the small surplus in the capital fund, the total deficit is $2.8 million. “Based on total revenues of over $1 billion, this is considered pretty much break-even,” she said.
Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, the CIUSSS’s President and CEO, told the audience, “We find ourselves in a much better position now vis-à-vis the COVID-19 pandemic than at the same time last year.
“Together, our CIUSSS and the community that we serve have risen to the occasion to overcome this dreadful virus. Despite the devastation and hardship wrought by the virus, our care providers from across all of our CIUSSS’s facilities really shone in response to the needs of our community.”
Francine Dupuis, Associate CEO, praised the work of the network’s directorates and departments during the pandemic, including:
- IT for working quickly to enable staff to provide patients and clients with remote care and support on virtual platforms during lockdowns
- Mental Health and Addiction for seeing to the psychological and emotional needs of numerous individuals affected by constantly changing circumstances
- Logistics for ensuring that the vaccines were correctly stored and promptly transported to various CIUSSS sites
- Human Resources for aggressively recruiting new staff, while providing existing staff with the training and support they needed
- Communications and Media Relations for quickly supplying the public with reliable and up-to-date information throughout the pandemic
However, the CIUSSS also continued to improve care and make innovative strides in many areas unrelated to the pandemic, said Assistant Executive Director Dan Gabay. These included:
- Development of a Command Centre, a digital clearinghouse for data about users that has greatly improved the admission and discharge of patients
- The launch of OROT, a connected health innovation hub that brings together private-sector entrepreneurs and healthcare experts to create new tools and products to improve the lives of healthcare users
- Renovations to the Division of Radiation Oncology to provide more effective cancer treatment with a fourth linear accelerator
- Implementation of “major energy sustainability projects, which are expected to yield annual savings of $1.4 million. At the same time, we are moving forward with initiatives related to the recovery of recycled materials, the revitalization of furniture and the creation of a community garden.”
Mr. Gabay added that for the third year in a row, Newsweek magazine’s survey of the world’s best hospitals ranked the JGH as the best in Quebec and among the top five in Canada.
As well, in a survey known as Canada’s Top Employers, the JGH has been on the list every year since 2013, and the CIUSSS has been included for the third year in a row.
In his overview, Jean-Philippe Payment, Interim Service Quality and Complaints Commissioner, explained that the increase in the volume of complaints is a positive development, since it shows that members of the public are willing to come forward in indicate where improvement is needed.