Although not a health professional like Dr. Cushman, Munter has an extensive background in providing healthcare services in Ottawa. During the last four years, he has been Executive Director of the Youth Services Bureau, providing mental health services for some 19,000 youth in Ottawa each year. He also teaches at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa.
Mr. Munter, a former Ottawa councillor, has wide experience heading council committees responsible for health and social services, as well as experience in various health planning bodies.
The Champlain LHIN covers the counties of Renfrew, Lanark, Prescott and Russell, SD&G, and the City of Ottawa. The organisation is responsible for planning, integrating and funding health care services for over 1.2 million people across an estimated 18,000 square kilometres. The LHIN manages more than 200 health care service providers, including a community care access centre, community health centres, community mental health and addiction services, community support services, hospitals and long-term care homes.
Although a proven administrator, Mr. Munter faces numerous challenges in his new role. The Ontario government introduced LHINs about 3 years ago, in an attempt to decentralize major decision-making from Queen’s Park to a more local level. The theory is sound, but in practice it does not always work so well. The LHIN has overall responsibility for health care in the region, but is underfunded and does not always have the authority it needs. One recent example of this is the recent lobbying scandal, in which some hospitals in the province were paying political lobbyists to act on their behalf in Queen’s Park. Other ongoing problems include excessive emergency room waiting times, and a chronic lack of long-term care facilities.
However, as Mike LeMay, the Interim Chairman of the Champlain LHIN Board of Directors says, Mr. Munter has a “proven track record of engaging citizens and stakeholders in finding solutions for complex problems.”