St. Francis Memorial Hospital (SFMH) is a 20-bed community hospital located in the village of Barry’s Bay. It serves a catchment of approximately 10,000 population dispersed over a large geographic area that includes 1,800 sq. kilometers in Renfrew County, a portion of South Algonquin Township in the District of Nipissing and Algonquin Park, Hwy 60 main corridor. SFMH's mission is "Excellence in rural health care" and is commited to performance.
Distance to secondary facilities and lack of public transportation has always been the prime consideration in strategic planning for SFMH. The nearest secondary hospital facilities are in Pembroke and Renfrew which are 85 and 95 kilometers respectively. Tertiary services are available in Ottawa, which is 200 kilometers east, and Peterborough, which is 175 kilometers south of Barry’s Bay. This distance and the low resident population has earned St. Francis Memorial Hospital the designation of both rural and isolated by the Rural and Northern Health Care Framework benchmark and parameter working group. It is currently the only independent Hospital in Southern Ontario with this designation.
VISION: “A Hospital Solution – A Community Solution”: A community healthcare hub that integrates all services that will not only address the unique community needs but also increase the essential critical mass and improve efficiencies in order to respond to current economic realities.
SFMH is built on foundation of Integration success: SFMH is continuously seeking strategic partnerships and solutions that will improve the organization’s efficiency and patient care across the system. In 2012, SFMH received the Small, Rural and Northern Award of Excellence recognizing its innovative leadership in establishing partnerships to expand and improve health services in the Madawaska Valley.
The governance practices and leadership exemplified by SFMH Board were instrumental in achieving integration success and effective partnerships. Key achievements are outlined below.
Renfrew Victoria Hospital (RVH)
SFMH Board established a voluntary partnership with RVH more than a decade ago. Trust, respect and effective governance as well as collaboration between the boards and the CEO are the basis for the tremendous and ongoing success of this partnership.
Outcomes & Impact on patients: Improved access for some 3,700 patients and 1200 Ontario Breast Screening Program clients to receive services locally through clinics integrated with SFMH who would otherwise need to travel to Renfrew (1 hr) and Ottawa (2.5 hrs)
Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association (EORLA) – SFMH is part of a partnership of 16 hospitals that creates the LHIN-wide integrated and standardized laboratory services. Over 12 million tests are performed annually.
Outcome/Impact: Patients benefit from enhanced quality care through improved standardization delivered seamlessly across the entire region. EORLA enables Laboratory Medicine to operate as a core business, so that decisions and resource allocations can be made in the interest of providing best-in-class Pathology and Laboratory Medicine operations. Savings achieved from operational improvements will be re-invested in laboratory staff and leading- edge technologies.
The Ottawa Hospital
SFMH and RVH have entered into a partnership with the current 56 radiologists in the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at The Ottawa Hospital (Ottawa Hospital and Region Imaging Associates (OHRIA)). Outcome/Impact: Patients are benefiting from enhanced quality care and response time.
Private Physiotherapy Clinic – Due to the lack and need of physiotherapy services locally, the SFMH created a partnership with a Physiotherapy company and renovated space in its Health Center for a new clinic. Outcome/Impact: Improved access to services, reduced travel for our clients and increased revenue stream for SFMH.
Together the SFMH and the RVH represent the top 2 most efficient hospitals amongst 53 other small hospitals in the Province. Working closely with the CEO and the leadership team, SFMH Board is very focused on hospital and program viability by maintaining balanced budgets and improving efficiencies that help enhance the quality and safety of patient care.
HEALTH SYSTEM INTEGRATION
Not only do we wish to recognize the past success, but the current non-stop drive by SFMH to capitalize on existing partnerships is creating more coordinated care and improving access for patients through the entire continuum of care. Many initiatives have started, evolved and been implemented in the last two years. Some of these Integration Successes include:
- Rural Healthcare Hub (St. Francis Health Center)
SFMH built the St. Francis Health Center, connected to the hospital via a tunnel, to help promote integration and create the rural health care hub model. SFMH Board actively encourages and supports the innovative solutions by the CEO and the leadership team to improve access and co-ordination of services for better health and well-being of the people in our communities. Clinical integration successes include: Primary care with 5 General Practitioners, Laboratory Services, CCAC, Dialysis, Ophthalmology & Optometry, Public Health, Orthopedics, Geriatric Mental Health, Outpatient Clinics for Internal Medicine, Audilogy and Addiction Treatment Services.
- Madawaska Communities Circle of Health (MCCH)
SFMH was instrumental in the creation of the first full community integration working group in the Champlain representing all health service providers in Madawaska Valley to implement integration opportunities in collaboration with the LHIN.
SFMH Board Chair is the Co-Chair of MCCH.
- Integration of Rainbow Valley Community Health Center (RV CHC) with the SFMH (Nov. 1, 2011) is the first full integration of a CHC with a hospital in the Province. This integration has provided sustainability and vital primary care services for the CHC through recruitment of 2 family physicians and a nurse practitioner. Additionally SFMH renovated the CHC to allow for more clinical space. This has been an enormous success for our community with active patients nearly doubling from 421 to 812 in less than a year. SFMH Board created an effective governance model for the CHC with the support of the LHIN and established a Community Advisory Committee which includes SFMH Board members. www.rainbowvalleychc.on.ca/
- Expansion of the health care hub with the co-location of Barry’s Bay and Area Seniors Home Support (Community Support Services) with SFMH (June 30, 2011). This initiative improved co-ordination of services and a new revenue stream for SFMH.
Madawaska Valley Hospice Palliative Care
A beautiful two bed hospice palliative care unit opened its doors April 2015. The hospice is located within the hospital and utilized vacant space. Since beginning in December 2012 this program has been successful in training 50 volunteers who provide care to hospice/palliative care clients in the facility or in their homes.