Wednesday, July 24, 2024

LGL health unit board votes in favour of voluntary merger

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

On Thursday, March 28, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Board of Health voted in support of the intent to merge with Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington Public Health (KFL&APH) and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) to create the South East Health Unit.

A media release from the health unit explains that in August 2023, the Ministry of Health but forth an offer of one-time funding, resources and supports to local public health agencies that voluntarily merged by Jan. 1, 2025, with the stated goal of strengthening the public health sector.  In response to the announcement, the HPE, KFL&A, and LGL Boards of Health decided in December to move forward with the exploration of the impacts of a voluntary merger and engaged the consulting firm of Sense and Nous to prepare a feasibility study and a business case for a merger. 

At the health unit’s board meeting on Thursday, Dr. Linna Li presented a Merger Feasibility Summary Report and Business Case Brief, outlining the results of the merger feasibility exercise for KFL&APH, LGLDHU and HPEPH. She identified strategic opportunities and challenges associated with the proposed merger, and concluded that there are no significant barriers to a merger. The Business Case Brief summarized the rationales and key proposals to be considered by the Ministry, including, in part, the name of the proposed new entity, governance model, geographic boundaries, opportunities to strengthen public health and the supports needed to merge.

The HPEPH and KFL&APH Boards of Health also met yesterday where they reviewed the same presentations.

All three Boards approved moving forward with a voluntary merger and will submit a proposal to the Ministry of Health by April 2.

“The goal of a merger is to strengthen public health in our respective regions,” said Peter McKenna, Chair of the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit Board of Health. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration in this new agency.”

Mergers of public health units require provincial legislative change, and a merger will only occur if the province approves the Boards’ proposal and commits adequate funding for its success. Until a legal new organization is established, the health units will continue to operate independently.

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