Richard Grimard honoured Hospital’s director retires as Quebec turns region’s health care upside down

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Allyson Beauregard

SHAWVILLE – Members of the
public and the hospital community bid farewell to Richard Grimard, Centre de Sante et de Services Sociaux du Pontiac Director-General, March 16, during the final Hospital Board

Allyson Beauregard

SHAWVILLE – Members of the
public and the hospital community bid farewell to Richard Grimard, Centre de Sante et de Services Sociaux du Pontiac Director-General, March 16, during the final Hospital Board
meeting at the Pontiac Reception Centre. As of April 1, the government will fuse the CSSS de Pontiac with the CSSS de Gatineau to create the new CISSSO; all individual hospital boards will be eliminated and replaced with one regional mega-management body.
According to Grimard, he will be “retiring” from the health services, and at the moment, has no other employment plans. “I may go back to private psychology, but for now, it’s just time to get a little rest,” he told the Journal. “I believe the Board has always done an outstanding job. Now there’s going to be a different method of management,” he added.
Dr. O’Neill worried
Shawville’s Dr. Thomas O’Neill, Fellow of the College of Family Physicians, worries about the quality of patient care now that Grimard’s position has been eliminated. “Over the years, Richard has always placed patient care first and balancing
budgets second. No one else is going to do that,” he stressed, highlighting that Grimard was instrumental in
fast-tracking various formalities to have the Reception Centre built. Other doctors have expressed similar concerns.
Dr. O’Neill feels a variety of
services in the Pontiac, including the Mansfield CLSC and its 24-hour emergency room, are at risk. “You may have the doctors here, but once you start eliminating the leadership from the community, who’s going
to be determining how many positions there are, and who will be going where? There will be no administration here so it’s going to be
determined in Gatineau. What does Gatineau know about what we do? If they can’t balance their own budget and organize their own resources, how are they going to organize ours,” he
elaborated.
The daily operation of the CSSSP will remain the same until April 1.
“We were promised by the Ministry and our MNA Andre Fortin that this will improve things and that the same services will be
provided. I hope so,” said Grimard, who said it is too early to evaluate the effects of the changes. “One main difference is that decisions regarding health services in the Pontiac will be decided in the city, so we need to have a good representative from the Pontiac sitting on the new committee,” he said, noting that he believes Fortin is working to ensure this.
However, Dr. O’Neill believes one representative from the Pontiac is not enough. “How effective will one representative amongst 12-14 people be? One member on the board, no matter how effective they wish to be, will have little impact,” he claimed.  
Richard Grimard believes there may be
benefits in the changes. “It may help the corridor de services (optimal patient care using efficient resources), but we were already well organized here. Regionally, this might be a good thing,” he told the Journal.
“We are already one of the most efficient and rated one of the highest in patient satisfaction. We are the only hospital in the Outaouais that has balanced our
budget. Why are we now being diluted with others who have not accomplished these basics?” asked Dr. O’Neill, who suggests there is little positive to be
expected from the changes. The Liberal government hopes to eliminate one level of bureaucracy in the health system across the province by these changes, with
substantial savings for the provincial budget.
“If this is about cost effectiveness, why shut down something that has been balancing its budget and that is already efficient? Because of the reorganization, at least 10 positions have been lost in the Pontiac. We are losing good paying government jobs that are going to the city. How is that fair for the poorest MRC in Quebec?” continued Dr. O’Neill.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Grimard was given a large round of applause and a standing ovation in appreciation of his work at the CSSS-P.