Hope for stability: new leader named to problem-plagued MUHC
Although he’s not well known to many in the Anglophone community, Dr. Pierre Gfeller is highly respected within Montreal’s medical community.
Gfeller has been appointed new CEO of McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). The hope is Gfeller will bring some much needed stability to the hospital.
Gfeller has worked as a doctor and administrator for 37 years. He graduated from McGill University in 1980, and worked as a family doctor until 2006.
He headed Sacré-Coeur hospital for several years, before taking over the administration for the CIUSSS for Montreal North three years ago.
Those connected to the MUHC say his appointment is essential to the future of the hospital.
“It is essential for any institution to have inspiring leadership,” said Dr. Samuel Benaroya, the vice-dean of McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine. “The fact he has been chosen for this position after a long and deep reflection as to the needs of the institution is only good news.”
In a statement, the chairman of the MUHC’s board, Peter Kruyt said of Dr. Gfeller:
“An added advantage is that Pierre is a graduate of the McGill Faculty of Medicine. He understands our culture and our values and shares our focus on providing outstanding care for and with patients.”
His appointment comes at time of turmoil within the MUHC. The hospital network is grappling with millions of dollars in budget cuts, staff burnout, and conflict with the province.
It hasn’t had proper leadership in several years. Former CEO Normand Rinfret quit in September 2016 after a series of disputes with Health Minister Gaetan Barrette. The hospital has only had an interim leader since then.
Barrette had threatened to put the MUHC under trusteeship. Ten members of the MUHC’s board of directors resigned in protest last July, delaying the search for a new leader.
Some are unhappy, however, with how Dr. Gfeller was chosen. The MUHC patient users committee complain they were shut out of the process
“It’s disappointing that we just have to hope for the best,” said Amy Ma, the co-chair of the MUHC’s patient users committee. “We should not have to hope for the best. We should have been able to say we were there from the get-go and we have full confidence and are behind this CEO because we were part of the process.”
Dr. Gfeller formally takes over May 28.