News Release – for Immediate Distribution
April 29, 2022
Smiths Falls – Today, Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, announced the Ontario government is investing up to $200,000 in Rideau Community Health Services (RCHS) in 2022-23. This funding will support the continued planning of the new Smiths Falls Integrated Health and Social Services Hub.
MPP Clark was joined by Mayor Doug Struthers from the Village of Merrickville-Wolford, Mayor Shawn Pankow from the Town of Smiths Falls, and Rideau Community Health Services CEO Michele Bellows and Board Chair Janet Cosier to make this announcement.
“Our government continues to invest in our health system, to ensure patients and their families can access high-quality health and social services when and where they need it,” said MPP Clark. “I’m very proud to have advocated for Rideau Community Health Services’ new Integrated Health and Social Services Hub in Smiths Falls, and I’m even prouder that our government is investing in this important initiative to deliver high-quality, integrated care for our growing communities.”
RCHS provides comprehensive primary care, health promotion and community development services to individuals and families in the Lanark, Leeds, and Grenville region and surrounding communities with partner organizations dispersed across the region. Working together, RCHS and other service providers have identified an opportunity to better integrate care to meet complex community needs.
Based on early planning, RCHS is planning to construct a new integrated health and social services hub in a 25,000 - 35,000 square foot space for in Smiths Falls. RCHS will work with the Town of Smiths Falls and their partners to identify an appropriate location for the facility.
RCHS’ existing partners have committed to the project and are all members of the Lanark, Leeds, and Grenville Ontario Health Teams (LLG OHT). The partners include Alzheimer Society of Lanark, Leeds, and Grenville; Lanark, Leeds, and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health; Open Doors for Lanark Children & Youth; Community Home Support Lanark County; Smiths Falls Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic; Lanark County Mental Health; and ConnectWell Community Health.
Once complete, the community hub is planned to offer services such as primary care, adult, adolescent and youth mental health, diabetes education, and social services. This funding will help RCHS and its partners continue to plan for the Smiths Falls Integrated Health and Social Services Hub and enable the organization to better integrate wraparound services for community members.
“Supporting planning to build the new Smiths Falls Integrated Health and Social Services Hub is another way our government is building a strong, more resilient health care system for all Ontarians,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This investment will better connect health care in the region and ensure that patients and families in Eastern Ontario have access high-quality, patient-centred care closer to home.”
Doug Struthers, Mayor – Village of Merrickville-Wolford
"Today's announcement is an important investment in the Smiths Falls Health and Community Hub, providing significant health benefits. The Hub has come about through a concerted and combined effort of many parties and will form a regional resource to be drawn on by all residents of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville. From my perspective as Mayor of Merrickville-Wolford it is important to acknowledge our residents will have access to this resource."
Shawn Pankow, Mayor – Town of Smiths Falls
"The overall well-being of our community is dependent upon the health and social service organizations that dedicated to caring for and supporting every member of our community. Rideau Community Health Services has long stood out as an inclusive, wholesome and multi-faceted community health centre that goes to every length possible to enhance the health and quality of life of the citizens it supports.
It is this understanding, that has led Smiths Falls Town Council to consider the possibility of providing municipally-owned land for the development of a new community and health hub, led by RCHS, in an area of our community that would benefit immensely by the collaborative approach and collection of organizations committed to being part of this project.
Today's announcement by the province enables RCHS and its allied partners to take the next critical step towards the development of this community and health hub, and demonstrates to the people of the greater Smiths Falls area this government's commitment to our collective health and well-being.
We are grateful to Minister Clark for his support and advocacy and to Minister Elliott for making this commitment a reality."
Michele Bellows, CEO – Rideau Community Health Services
“We are grateful to MPP Clark for advocating on our behalf, and the Ministry of Health for recognizing the importance of this project which will benefit the people and community of Smiths Falls and surrounding areas. We know that when we collaborate with our community and our partners that we grow together while supporting a strong and vibrant community.”
Janet Cosier, Board Chair - Rideau Community Health Services
“The Smiths Falls integrated care hub is our number one priority! The hub will foster a strong and healthy community by making services accessible and timely; and by delivering care to meet the needs of the communities we serve. On behalf of the board, senior staff, and partners, we thank Minister Elliott and MPP Steve Clark for the opportunity to improve the delivery of care and community health and well-being.”
- To further support the high-quality care provided by Ontario’s hospitals, the government is providing an additional $827 million to hospitals across the province, representing a four per cent increase from last year. This will ensure all publicly funded hospitals receive a minimum two per cent increase to their budgets to help them better meet patient needs, while building a stronger, more resilient health care system.
- To support growing demands on the health care system, Ontario’s investments over the next 10 years will lead to $30 billion in health infrastructure across the province. These investments will increase capacity in hospitals, build new health care facilities and renew existing hospitals and community health centres.