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Woodstock’s private hospital permanently shutting its doors, The London Free Press, October 31, 2018

Posted: October 31, 2018

Woodstock’s private hospital permanently shutting its doors

Lisa Figg (Linked in) and Shelley Vanderzwaag (Facebook)

A private hospital in Woodstock is permanently closing its doors as a discipline hearing for two nurses who have worked there and changes to Ontario legislation governing such facilities loom.

Woodstock Private Hospital will be permanently shut next year due to a change in legislation that included provisions for the eventual repeal of the Private Hospitals Act, which regulates privately run facilities, according to the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

The changes to the law mean that private hospitals eventually will no longer exist.

The announced closing comes as two sisters who work there as nurses face misconduct allegations. The College of Nurses of Ontario alleges that one sister had allowed the other to work there without a licence.

Shelley Lynn Vanderzwaag and Lisa Marie Figg will have separate hearings in February before the College of Nurses of Ontario over the alleged misconduct at the private hospital, which is owned by their mother.

According to the LHIN, the 16-bed privately run hospital was designed to provide complex care to individuals. Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition said she is pleased that the private hospital is closing.

“It is in the public interest that it be closed down and that capacity be built in public nonprofit hospitals that have proper safe regulatory regimes that are in the public interest,” she said.

The hospital will no longer be accepting patients and ownership of the private hospital made the decision to close the facility as of March 31, 2019, the LHIN said.

“We are grateful to the dedicated staff members who have worked at Woodstock Private Hospital over the years, and thank them for their service,” Irma Vanderzwaag said in a statement. “Quality patient care will continue to be our top priority as we work to support the transition of patients.”

The private hospital has been in operation since 1975.

“The South West LHIN supports the decision and will work with the hospital’s ownership to ensure a smooth and seamless transition of patients and closure of the hospital,” according to a statement issued by Ron Sapsford, interim CEO.

“The South West LHIN is investigating options for reallocating this hospital’s base funding.”

Vanderzwaag’s two daughters are the two employees facing disciplinary hearings.

Shelley Lynn Vanderzwaag, whose hearing is scheduled for February 20 to 22, is accused of falsifying records related to her practice.

Figg, listed online as the administrator of the Woodstock Private Hospital, is accused of professional misconduct after allegedly permitting her sibling, Vanderzwaag, to work as a nurse while her nursing certificate was suspended.

None of the allegations has been proved. Neither sister has responded to Free Press requests for comment.

Her hearing date is scheduled for February 13.

While March 31, 2019 is the date set to close the hospital, it will operate until all residents are transitioned to new care settings.

Other health agencies will be kept informed of any important developments related to this change, according to the LHIN.