Vitalité Health Network announces new CEO

·2 min read

A new CEO has been named for the Vitalité Health Network, one of the province's two health authorities.

Dr. France Desrosiers will replace the outgoing CEO Gilles Lanteigne on November 30.

In a news release, Vitalité said Desrosiers is a family physician who has held management roles in the health network for 19 years, "including most recently as vice-president of medical services, training and research."

"Dr. Desrosiers knows our health-care system first-hand and her experience as a physician and executive leadership member will be definite assets for Vitalité Health Network and our province," said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard in the same release.

Desrosiers was not available for an interview, according to Vitalité.

The start of Desrosiers term will be marked by both a health crisis and a push to change the way health care is delivered in the province.

COVID-19

New Brunswick is in the midst of a second wave of COVID-19 infections with 89 active cases of the disease in the province as of Tuesday.

The wave has potential to grow as several schools have reported positive cases and there have been warnings about possible public exposures in a number of businesses and restaurants.

On Monday, Desrosiers' soon-to-be counterpart warned that an increase in COVID-19 cases could spell trouble for the province's hospitals.

"We could easily be overwhelmed with a very few new cases," said Karen McGrath, CEO of the Horizon Health Network.

Rethinking health care

The province has also promised to review the way healthcare is delivered in the province.

Last winter, Premier Blaine Higgs announced reductions in emergency room hours at several smaller hospitals.

After less than a week of intense pressure, he backed down from that decision, but promised to study the delivery of health care.

That was supposed to include public consultations that have been postponed twice, because of COVID-19 and September's election.

But Shephard told CBC News that she hopes to have consultations complete by March 2021.

"Much of this is probably going have to be done virtually, but we want to make sure we get the biggest possible participation we can get in these COVID times," said Shephard.