​Dear Colleagues,

Late last week the boards of UHN and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab) approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which describes the potential integration of our two organizations.

Over the next few months, management at our two hospitals will work together to evaluate clinical opportunities, financial data, human resource commitments and other legal aspects of the two organizations. As long as this collaborative process proceeds as expected by both hospitals we hope to join together in forming a new organization that encompasses the best aspects of both institutions.

We will of course require approval from the Toronto Central LHIN and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to achieve this integration.  The MOU describes the following principles and commitments:

  • Enhanc ed quality and accessibility of rehabilitation services for patients including a focus for earlier rehabilitation services for acute patients as appropri ate and indicated by resear ch.
  • A guarantee of current levels of rehabilitation services and a commitment to the reinvestment of any resulting savings in rehabilitation services.
  • A guarantee that rehabilitation care , commitments and partnerships currently in place with other acute hospitals such as St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Michael's Hospital, Sunnybrook Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital, will be honoured and enhanced.
  • The new organization will have a focus on research in rehabilitation which will receive substantial support. ​

 

With these goals in place we expect support from our LHIN and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

Now that both boards have signed the MOU, I can let everyone at UHN know and, as I send this Mark Rochon, the President and CEO at Toronto Rehab, is informing everyone in his organization about the MOU and the work that will follow in the next two months.

I know I am surprising you with this news but I also know that you will quickly move beyond that surprise and think about three things – the possibilities for patients requiring the very best rehabilitation care following the care they receive during acute care, the possibilities for all who work at UHN and Toronto Rehab, and the uncertainty that change brings.  This is a time to dream about what may be possible in a new organization with an expert rehabilitation capability, dedicated professional care teams focused on this area of care, and a research enterprise with this focus.  This is a time to think about how an integrated organization would facilitate the care journey and improve the quality of all aspects of that journey with better outcomes as the goal.  And, it is a time to express concerns and doubts so that they may be addressed as we move forward.

In making this announcement, I want to recognize Mark Rochon as a visionary leader with a strong commitment to integrated care for all patients.  I know that Mark and his team have a strong focus on research and interprofessional care in rehabilitation medicine and these are essential elements of UHN – so I am certain that each one of you will find that your colleagues at Toronto Rehab share your approach to caring for patients, the belief that research is essential to providing better care and a commitment to working in multidisciplinary teams.

It is very early days so I don't have the answers to all the questions that will pop in to your mind as you read this but, as always, I commit to providing those answers as soon as we have them.  As I mentioned above the boards have agreed to take the next step towards integration which is a couple of months of fully understanding what must happen to enable a successful integration.

Please send all of your questions along to me, and we will do our best to provide answers as soon as we have them.  My guess is that there will be themes in your questions, so it is likely that we'll consolidate those themes and provide answers to both organizations as we go forward.

My thanks, as always, for 'listening' and I look forward to working with everyone here and at Toronto Rehab as we dream about the possibilities for our patients.

Bob Bell

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