Health Sciences North has received approval, at least in principle, to keep its Sudbury Outpatient Centre facility open.
The hospital made the request to the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) board in November. The board approved the request in principle at their Jan. 24 meeting.
In doing so, the North East LHIN's board noted that Health Sciences North, like all health service providers, needs to receive LHIN approval before starting, stopping or enhancing any service.
Starting last week, Northern Life requested phone interviews with both organizations about the topic, but so far, only email statements and written documentation has been issued.
Back in 1996, the Health Services Restructuring Commission directed the various hospitals in Sudbury to consolidate services to a single site under a single corporation, with all other sites to be decommissioned.
However, while the St. Joseph's Health Centre site closed when the new hospital was completed in 2010, the former Memorial Hospital, now known as the Sudbury Outpatient Centre, continues to be used for various hospital services.
Health Sciences North wants the Health Services Restructuring Commission's 1996 directive overturned.
While the North East LHIN has approved their request in principle, before the decision is finalized by the board, the public has until March 4 to comment on the proposal.
Comments can be sent to email@example.com or by mail to Lara Bradley, 865 Regent Street South, Suite M-108, Sudbury Outpatient Centre, Sudbury, ON, P3E 3Y9.
The hospital argued the Sudbury Outpatient Centre needs to remain open to accommodate many services, including ambulatory care programs, education, research, administration and support services.
The hospital also said it wants to consolidate all of its ambulatory programs at the site in 2013-2014.
We required the space afforded by the (Sudbury Outpatient Centre) to provide the range of services we do.
Health Sciences North spokesperson
These programs include complex diabetes care, pre/post bariatric surgery care, chronic pain, chiropody, a geriatric day hospital and opthalomology.
In a copy of the decision provided to Northern Life, the LHIN asked the hospital to undertake a review of all current and proposed ambulatory clinics it aims to locate at the Outpatient Centre.
That's to ensure, the LHIN stated, the hospital will only be providing services at the clinic that don't require additional LHIN funding, among several other conditions.
A Health Sciences North briefing note presented to the North East LHIN board in November 2012 said the Health Services Restructuring Commission directive was issued 15 years ago and does not reflect the current environment.
“The directives contemplated a larger Ramsey site and the completion of the capital project resulted in less space,” the briefing note said.
“Additionally, HSN received designation to be a teaching hospital in 2006, and the requirements to become an academic health sciences centre were not considered.”
HSN's financial objective is to ensure the continued use of the Outpatient Centre won't require additional funding, hospital officials told the LHIN at a Jan. 24 board meeting.
As space is rented at the facility, rent income would be used to offset future cost increases or major capital repairs or maintenance.
In an emailed statement, hospital spokesperson Dan Lessard wrote the case Health Sciences North presented to the North East LHIN “demonstrated the Sudbury Outpatient Centre is both necessary and financially self-sustainable.”
He added the hospital plans to expand the range of outpatient programs and services provided at the facility.
To learn more about plans for the Sudbury Outpatient Centre, visit Health Sciences North's website at www.hsnsudbury.ca or the North East LHIN's website at www.nelhin.on.ca.