Lise Verreault has been appointed interim CEO of the Montérégie-Ouest Integrated Health and Social Services Centre (CISSSMO) for a period of three months. The doctors are ready to collaborate with her, but the task is colossal.
“It’s like eating an elephant one bite at a time,” says Dr. Michèle Lemay, the assistant head of family medicine at CISSSMO.
In his reaction to the firing of Yves Masse as president and CEO, Dr. Félix Le-Phat-Ho, the frontline medical coordinator for the Jardins-Rousillon local health network, suggests the doctors have been looking for a change in management. “This could have taken the form of a trusteeship. It’s unfortunate for him (Masse), but we should avoid falling into the trap of thinking the problems were caused by one person.”
Since the circulation of a family medicine manifesto for the Montérégie-Ouest by the region’s doctors in February, efforts have been made to work together. Both parties have “added some water to their wine,” but the tension and trust issues between doctors and administration remained. “Elements of a solution were put in place, but they had already been discussed,” says Le-Phat-Ho. “It was just a rehash; there was nothing new. I was beginning to wonder if we would succeed.”
The arrival of Verreault brings change, which could galvanize the troops; but, says Le-Phat-Ho, her arrival comes during a difficult time. “I have already offered her my cooperation,” he says. “The people in place are motivated to turn things around. But this won’t be a one-person job.”
Le-Phat-Ho says he hopes the CISSSMO will be able to repatriate some of the talented people who have left, as their familiarity with the situation and the files would allow them to act quickly.
“We need the population to rally,” insists Lemay. “We have been trying for years on our own, so we know that this has helped to move things along.” She says the firing of the CEO was a major development and that the medical professionals are ready to move forward, but with only 200 doctors in the Montérégie-Ouest, the number is well below the target.
Lemay is also concerned about the planned transfer of services to the future hospital in Vaudreuil. “We must not take services away from the Suroît Hospital,” she says, “whether it be obstetrics or the birthing centre in particular. I fear for the Suroît Hospital. We will have to make her (Verreault) understand.”