Connecting with VHA’s New Board Chair Ian Brunskill
Ian Brunskill recently assumed the position of Board Chair at VHA Home HealthCare (VHA). We connected with Ian to discuss what brought him to VHA and what he is excited about for his new role. Here is a condensed version of our conversation.
Ian, congratulations on your new role as VHA’s Board Chair. You’ve been on the Board since 2018. Can you tell us what led you to want to volunteer with VHA initially?
Thank you, I’m excited to take on this position. Over my career, I’ve worked in a number of health care organizations and I’ve consulted with many as well. Through that experience I’ve come to see home care as the glue that binds together the other sectors of our health care system. And yet, despite it playing this important role, in my view home care has been terribly undervalued. In addition, I’ve seen first-hand the opportunity for a greater connection between primary care and home care. These observations led to my interest in contributing to home care.
So how did you select VHA?
As I started speaking with people, VHA’s name kept coming up. I heard about VHA’s reputation for being a great partner that recognized the value of integrated care. And I heard about VHA’s commitment to quality. You know, things can go wrong anywhere in the health care system, at least to some degree. And what I heard about VHA, and I’ve seen this time and again while I’ve been on the Board, that when things go wrong, VHA’s team takes action to figure out what happened and improve it, both for that particular situation and more broadly at the system level. I really appreciate that culture of continuous improvement and knew this was an organization I wanted to be involved with.
What do you see as the most important priorities for VHA right now?
The digital initiatives we are undertaking to facilitate scheduling for our providers and our clients are key to helping us deliver client-centred care. Provincially, the integration of care through Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) and the modernization of home care are important areas and we need to contribute VHA’s expertise and experience to those developments. There is great potential in the OHT model, and in the design of any integrated system it is crucial that home care be at the table so providers can speak directly to their experience.
What are you excited about?
I think the value of home care is being recognized even more now and that raises some exciting possibilities. The complexity of care we’re providing in the home has significantly increased over the years, and I believe there is potential for an even broader scope. Some of the procedures currently being done in hospital could be done at home just as safely and effectively.
I’m also delighted to be Chairing the talented and diverse group on our Board. There is such a range of skills and experience and our Board now even includes a client partner, a first for VHA, and I know we are all interested in hearing the client voice at the board table.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would like to thank Karen Singh, my predecessor as Board Chair. Karen has done such an incredible job preparing me for this. She has always bought a sense of humour and a humanity to the Board conversations and I hope I can emulate that.
And lastly, I would like to note how much I am looking forward to working with VHA’s management team in my new role. I know that they are great champions for home care, and I’m looking forward to all that we can achieve together for our providers and our clients.