The outcome of the Office of the Citizens’ Representative’s investigation into administration matters within Central Health has Gander Mayor Percy Farwell calling it reaffirmation of the “toxic” work environment descriptions that brought about the scrutiny in the first place.
The Citizens’ Representative started an investigation on Dec. 13, 2017 after it had been contacted by several physicians claiming unfair action by Central Health relating to numerous administrative matters.
A 31-page report on the investigation was made public on Thursday, March 7. Within it, two recommendations were made.
One suggests Central Health write an apology to a radiologist for using the credentialing process for an improper purpose.
The other advises the health authority to amend its medical staff bylaws to be more precise around the issues of conflict of interest and apprehension of bias by everyone who takes part in any credentialing or disciplinary processes.
“It goes right to the core of issues myself and others have been talking about for quite a while,” Farwell said.
“There are systemic issues here, where the management style is inappropriate… and there was a set of bylaws in place that allowed it to continue.”
Central Health is currently working towards implementing 36 recommendations from an external review of management practice, released last year. Farwell’s hope is the Citizens’ Representative’s report will be addressed, as well.
“The appropriate thing to do here is for Central Health to acknowledge some of these flaws, and apologize to grieved individuals,” he said.
Central Health CEO Andrée Robichaud, who took on the position in October, called the reports a gift.
“It gave us a sense of the issues that needed to be worked on,” she said.
Robichaud said Central Health will issue the apology. Work surrounding the amendment of bylaws is already taking place, as it was a concern outlined in the external review, she added.
“I think that over the next 18-24 months, Central Health will be in a better position,” she said.
The outcome of the bylaw amendments could have provincial implications, as well. While there are four regional health authorities in the province, Health Minister John Haggie said his department aims for bylaw consistency throughout the province.
“This will be a learning experience for Central Health, but it will also have an impact on the other three regional health authorities, as well,” he said.
“If they end up changing one, chances are we’ll probably end up asking other health authorities to look at theirs, too.”
Seven administration matters investigated by the OCR
- The bylaws and the CEO’s mandate to appoint and reappoint members to the medical staff and grant privileges.
- The possible use of credentialing processes as a method of discipline.
- Doctors being personally involved in the evaluation and/or credentialing processes of a radiologist, when an apprehension of bias may exist.
- Alleged failure to implement a change management strategy in relation to the regionalization of diagnostic imaging services.
- Heightened use of locum physicians for diagnostic imaging at Gander.
- Some physician(s) in the diagnostic imaging group at Central Health are not certified by the Royal College of Physicians of Canada.
- The implementation of recommendations contained in a report on diagnostic imagery at Central Health issued in September 2015.