A Year in Review 2016/2017

Posted June 30 2017 01:56pm

June 27, 2017 - Sault Area Hospital (SAH) recently held its 2017 Annual General Meeting and the reports delivered throughout the evening included many notable accomplishments over this past year.

“Each year when I sit down to reflect and prepare my annual report for this meeting, I cannot help but be filled with a deep sense of pride in the people I have the great privilege of working with,” stated Ron Gagnon, President & CEO. According to Gagnon, this past year has seen many improvements related to the quality of care and services provided at SAH.

“Foremost among our successes has been our ability to reduce the amount of time our patients wait in our Emergency Department, from triage to admission to an inpatient bed (Admitted Patient Wait Time), by over 60% from our highest point.” Gagnon reported that this will continue to be a key area of focus for our organization as we recognize the impact that delays can have on the patients and their families. “Given the foundations built over the last year, the knowledge gained, and the passion and talents of the people of SAH, I have every confidence that we will continue to make improvements in this area,” he added.

By working closely with community partners, we improved the care provided to those in greatest need. “Through our Health Link partnership, we have been able to deliver better coordinated and more people-centred care for 130 of the highest needs patients in the community,” stated Gagnon. “In addition, we developed our Health Link community plan to see these services provided to an expanded group of people this coming year, and in the years to follow.”

SAH has continued efforts to shorten the time people wait for diagnostic imaging tests, hip and knee replacements, and care in the emergency room. “We have seen improvements in these areas and our results are better than the provincial experience,” said Gagnon. “We are committed to continuous improvement in this area.”

The hospital also embarked on a journey with our partner hospitals across the local health integration network in order to implement a new electronic medical record that will be shared by all organizations. “This is a large scale initiative and will take a number of years to complete and is focused on ensuring that care providers have the right tools and information to provide outstanding care,” explained Gagnon.

The Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFAC) are expanding at SAH and the voice of patients and families continues to guide our work. “Through our patient and family advisers whether they are sitting as part of interview panels, working on special projects, or participating in one of the various councils throughout the hospital their efforts are helping to focus our attention and drive improvements. We are all extremely grateful for their time, passion and insight,” stated Gagnon.

We have developed and begun to implement a new consolidated senior friendly hospital strategy. The primary goal of the Senior Friendly Hospital Strategy is to enhance the care of seniors and reduce their risk of functional decline during a hospital stay. “This strategy and mindset is already bearing fruit and I'm happy to say positively impacting the lives of our patients and their families,” said Gagnon.

For the sixth consecutive year, SAH has finished the year with a balanced or better financial position. “Although we measure our progress with numbers or indicators of project implementation our work is not about numbers or indicators – it’s about the people whose lives we impact.”

People come to the hospital at a time of great need. One of the main highlights of the year that demonstrated the spirit of teamwork at SAH was the local carbon monoxide incident. When the hospital was called upon to care for a very large number of people who had been exposed to carbon monoxide at one of the local hockey arenas, the SAH team responded. During the evening, staff, physicians and volunteers came into hospital to help without question, even though in many cases, they were not working in their usual department or environment. “I was proud to witness compassion, teamwork, respect and excellence that evening. It was great to see that our iCcare values were alive and well in our organization.” 

Some additional highlights were: Canada’s Safest Employers Award (Silver) in the Wellness Category; Volunteers who contributed over 66,000 hours and have a satisfaction rate of over 98%; the Volunteer Association raising 73% toward their commitment to contributing $200,000 towards a new CT scanner; and the multidisciplinary collaboration to bring forward the introduction of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) services at SAH.

At the governance level, highlights included: updates to the Strategic Plan; a by-law review; participation is establishing sub-regions in our LHIN; development of an executive compensation framework; oversight of the Health Information System and a single electronic medical record; and an extensive Chief of Staff recruitment process.

The highlight of the AGM was the highly-anticipated annual awards presentation. Congratulations to our iCCare Award recipients – John Nardo (Employee), Tracy Dinelle posthumously (Volunteer) and Dr. Michael Bodnar (Physician). SAH also salutes Dr. Douglas Bignell, the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Dr. William Hutchinson Award.

“As I look ahead I am excited about what's next,” said Gagnon. “We will continue to invest in the talents of our people, continue our engagement efforts, work with our community partners to evolve Health Links, work with our regional partners to make the vision of a single medical record a reality, bring quality care closer to home, and continuously improve the experience of our patients and their families.”


Rose Calibani is the Public Affairs Officer at Sault Area Hospital. We welcome comments and suggestions for future column topics. Please call Public Affairs at (705) 759-3671.