KINGSTON – Cathy Szabo (pictured), the new president and CEO of Providence Care, says the construction of the organization’s new hospital will also mark the start of a more comprehensive way of delivering healthcare in Kingston.
Szabo said she wants to include the community as much as possible in the way Providence Care delivers its services in the new hospital. “It’s about the opportunities that can happen in the next three years while we’re building the hospital to make sure we are including the community in that,” she told the Kingston Whig-Standard.
Szabo was previously the CEO of the Central Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) in Toronto and York Region. She replaces the retiring Dale Kenney who has led Providence Care since 2008. He left in January.
The completion of the new hospital in 2017 will bring rehabilitation, complex continuing care, specialized geriatrics, palliative care and mental health programs together under one roof.
Currently Providence Care maintains sites at St. Mary’s of the Lake, the Mental Health Services site, Providence Manor long-term care home on Sydenham Street, as well as 18 community programs in 25 different locations all over southeastern Ontario. Providence Manor will stay at its present location.
Prior to her work at the Central CCAC, Szabo worked for over 20 years as a staff nurse at St. Michael’s Hospital, then at Saint Elizabeth Health Care in nursing management and other senior management positions.
She holds a master’s degree in public health and a bachelor’s degree in nursing science.
Szabo comes to an organization that has recently laid off staff and closed beds at their King Street Mental Health Services site. It was announced last fall that 60 full-time equivalent positions would be eliminated by this spring and the hospital also closed and consolidated wards to get their in-patient bed count down to 120.
Szabo said the delivery of healthcare is evolving and Providence Care has to keep up with the changes. “How I delivered care when I started at the bedside when I was a nurse at St. Mike’s a few years ago is different from how nursing is now,” she said.
“Health care will continue to change and we can’t always take a look at how things are run now and say that’s how it’s going to be in the future.”
She cites the changing workforce, changing needs of patients and changing models of care as part of the evolving process.
“Wherever possible we want to make sure we work closely with staff to understand those changes and be supported in those changes. But changes are going to happen,” she said.
Szabo said she’ll continue to look into funding models from the provincial government that supports the type of service Providence Care provides. “The provincial government has made a commitment to invest in community-based care for three years.”