Major CKHA donor says change needed



Editor’s note: The Faas Foundation has donated more than $1 million to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. Author of The Bully’s Trap on workplace culture, Andrew Faas has provided this take on the situation at the CKHA.

Sir: An investigation was commissioned by Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long Term Care “to examine and report on issues related to the governance and management” of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA). The investigator’s report exposed a top-heavy management governed by a negligent and neutered board of directors and a rats’ nest of toxicity.

As the Faas Foundation is one of CKHA’s top donors, we are very concerned on how this disturbing report will negatively affect CKHA’s ability to attract and retain health-care professionals and donors.

This report could also affect the community in terms of attracting employers and jobs to the area because health care is a major factor in decisions to locate.

Over the last decade, I have met many CKHA employees and must emphasize that were it not for their passion, dedication and professionalism; patient care would have been severely compromised.

These people worked under horrible conditions – “The CKHA organizational culture has been frequently described by both hospital and medical staff to be one of fear, intimidation, distrust and an unsafe environment in which to voice their opinions without retaliation. A hierarchical and centralized decision-making management style that also lacked in transparency was also frequently described.”

My intelligence is that that the CEO and his cronies on management and the board are feverishly working on a public response to discredit the report.

The public and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care should not get sucked in by this. I can attest to the investigator’s findings as having witnessed the CEO in action and speaking with many employees.

Also, I was interviewed by a consultant commissioned by the CEO were I clearly voiced my concerns about the climate, which were consistent with the investigator’s findings.

The report by the consultant made zero mention of the critical comments expressed by me and others he interviewed, and based on my experience his report was typical of “snake oil salesmen” who tell the CEOs what they want to hear to gain additional assignments.

Based on my extensive research and as an expert in organizational culture and dynamics, the situation at CKHA is unfortunately more common than not.

Thankfully, a ministry-appointed supervisor will be appointed “to restore robust governance and administrative/clinical leadership to ensure sustainable and appropriate oversight of patient care and financial management.”

To the citizens of Chatham-Kent – do not lose faith in what I consider to be a wonderful institution with incredible people who have managed to provide superior patient care under very trying circumstances.

Please embrace them and continue to support them – with new management and governance, your investment will pay huge dividends.

To employees everywhere, if you are working in an environment similar to that of CKHA, make your voice heard in a safe way – citing this case study.

Andrew Faas

Thornbury, Ont.

His full blog can be seen here.




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