In June of this year I stepped out of my recent semi-retirement from CEO of Vancouver Coastal Health to support Fraser Health’s transition as interim Chief Executive Officer. My time as your interim CEO ends October 31.
It was an unexpected request that I join Fraser Health and I’m glad I accepted. My time here has given me an opportunity to meet some very dedicated health care leaders and staff. I have spent much time reflecting on the very real challenges of supporting better health outcomes for our populations while managing the business of a health authority.
The issues of capacity and congestion and managing within a budget that never seems to stretch as far as we wish are not unique to Fraser Health. To some degree or another, the challenges facing Fraser Health are ones with which all health authorities struggle. But some of that which makes Fraser Health unique in these struggles are also the things that are going to propel you towards new solutions. Fraser Health is known for its rapid growth and diversity. It is also known for tenacity – despite very challenging situations, the people here are loyal and committed. The care here is good. And the will to make things even better is apparent.
My time with you took place on the coattails of a lot of previous work that was started before I was ever asked to join you. You have recognized that quality is integral to your culture. I believe your new CEO will have the pleasure of seeing that the recommendations from the strategic review and the plans from the three-year strategic and operational plan will be well underway. There have been improvements on key performance indicators that we can track back over the last year. These are your successes and you should feel very proud of them.
Change takes time and intention. And intention requires a vision. I can tell you that, sitting with your Executive team, I have seen myself that the vision is becoming clearer. Plans are being created and implemented. Change is sure to follow.
As I prepare to say goodbye and wish you all well, I want to also encourage you all to see your own piece of this vision – the successful future of Fraser Health. Remarkable things happen when people can see their own contributions as part of the success of the whole. You all have a part to play in the success of Fraser Health. What you do does matter – every day.
Use the strength of your commitment and dedication to your patients to continue the improvement journey. Use the spirit of innovation to support the unique challenges of your patient populations and diverse communities.
Continue to ask questions and to push yourselves to find even better ways to do things and to improve even more. I see great innovation all across this health authority. Very impressive ideas, solutions and people are here now. Incredible improvements are happening. Now wonder what would happen if we pushed the margins even more: if we kept seeing opportunity in each problem, if we kept wondering how else we could improve the experience for our patients. And then we just made it happen.
I wish you all the best, Fraser Health.
(Read Dr. Ostrow’s advice for Fraser Health here http://fhpulse/about_us/news/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=2385)
David N. Ostrow, MD FRCPC
President and Chief Executive Officer (Interim)