Orazietti announces $500,000 for new building planning

Today, the Group Health Centre received $500,000 from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to support initial planning for a new building. Immediately following the announcement, Alex Lambert, CEO of the Group Health Centre, delivered the following speech:

Good morning.  Thank you Minister Orazietti.  I’d like to thank the Minister, as well as the Ministry of Health, for their support today, and for the support they have shown Group Health Centre over the years. GHC has been an institution in our community since the early 1960’s - established by a group of Steelworkers who believed that healthcare could be done better.
At the time, there was no provincial health coverage – but this group believed so strongly in making health care accessible to their members and families, they canvassed door-to-door, and in many cases allocated part of their pay, raising over $675,000 to build the original GHC. We wouldn’t be standing here today without the forethought of our First Brickers, and of all the visionaries that have come through our doors since then.

Group Health Centre was built on a foundation of innovation – this guiding principle is embraced at our core, and continues to drive us forward.   This is an exciting time for our patients, partners, community, and colleagues.Over the last three years, we’ve implemented a number of innovative improvements, all with the goal of enhancing patient access and care.

We’ve upgraded our electronic medical records system and underlying technology, to the point where GHC is perhaps the most technologically advanced community-based healthcare organization in Canada.

We’ve improved our internal communications systems and processes, and provided patients broader access to care through new channels such as myCARE, our online patient portal.

We’ve established a cross-functional, physician-led team of innovators within the organization to explore and test better ways of serving patients.

And we’ve taken a leadership role in the Sault Ste. Marie Health Link, which has led to a new “guided care nursing” model being piloted right now out of our Algoma Diabetes Education and Care facility, which we and our community partners believe will have enormous benefits for our most complex patients.

We’ve done this because we believe GHC can be a catalyst for major innovations in healthcare.   We believe we can capture the innovative spirit of our founders, and take a leading role in the evolution of community-based health care in Canada.

Over the last number of years, we have also invested in our existing facilities to accommodate growth in services, providers and patients.  We are now at the point where a more significant investment in our future is needed, in the form of a new, consolidated building. Not only will a new building support GHC’s growth, it will also enable us to practice in a new way – creating an even better patient experience – something we will share more about in the coming months.

Our work today, and in the future, continues a legacy of health innovation for our community – generations of Saultites have worked for, and received care at, Group Health Centre, and with this investment, we hope to be able to give future generations their best health and best life as members of the GHC family.

Full text of the release from MPP David Orazietti's Office below.


Province Continues to Strengthen Health Care Resources in Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie – Ontario is helping the Group Health Centre move forward on its initial planning stage for a proposed new building, improving efficiency, access, privacy and the patient experience, David Orazietti MPP announced today.
“Our government is committed to making strategic infrastructure investments that will benefit our communities across Ontario and the North,” said Orazietti. “Today’s $500,000 investment towards the planning of a new Group Health Centre building will contribute to the future of healthcare delivery here in the Sault, allowing for improved efficiency and patient care.”

Provincial funding of $500,000 is being provided through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. This funding is being used to support the Functional Program Review related to a proposed new Group Health Centre building and planning for the proposed redevelopment of the Group Health Centre.
Depending on the findings of the study and ministry approval, this would support the Group Health Centre in developing a consolidated, modern facility supporting a team-based care model. This will improve operational efficiencies, enhance patient experience, and ensure the Group Health Centre is positioned to meet future health system demands.

“We are excited to embark on this important project, as a new building is a key element to our vision of providing patients with the best possible healthcare experience,” said Alex Lambert, CEO of Group Health Centre. Continuing to increase investments in health care is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care. This plan provides patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to live healthy and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.

Some key provincial investments at Group Health Centre include:
$1.6 million to expand Willow Avenue site (NOHFC)
$744,000 Vascular Intervention Program
$550,000 for Clinical Learning Centre (NOHFC)
$500,000 for elevator upgrades
$216,000 annual funding for cardiac rehabilitation program
Lead organization – Sault Ste. Marie Health Link

Patients First: Action Plan Progress Report
Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care

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