Bringing more services to area new AGH Chief of Staff’s priority

by Susan Hanna

Dr. Oldfield and Dr Dolan

Dr. Oldfield and Dr. Dolan share a happy moment

 Helping the Almonte General Hospital (AGH) bring more health care services to the community is Dr. Michael Dolan’s top priority as the Hospital’s new Chief of Staff.

 "My priority is to be involved with the Hospital as it grows from a small rural hospital to one that offers more services to the community—bringing services close to home," says Dr. Dolan, who began his three-year term as Chief of Staff on June 4, 2012, succeeding Dr. Anne Oldfield.

Partnering with secondary and tertiary centres to identify clinical services that can be delivered by AGH as a satellite site function is one of four strategic areas of focus in AGH’s new five-year strategic plan. The other three are: establishing and/or sustaining a comprehensive and appropriate program base, including select regional programs, to serve the community; leading collaborative efforts to address the needs of the community and provide access to services for aging and end-of-life patients; and partnering for revenue opportunities that utilize available land and assets to better serve the health and wellness needs of the community.

"The Board of Directors was very pleased that Dr. Dolan put his name forward for another term as Chief of Staff," says AGH Board Chair Dr. Tom Todd.?"He has a long history of commitment to this community and to providing safe, high-quality care to our patients.?We are looking forward to working with him over the coming three years."

As Chief of Staff, Dr. Dolan is responsible for the quality of medical care delivered at AGH. "I am the Hospital Board’s representative in the Hospital," he explains. "My role is to ensure that Board policies and directives are carried out and to facilitate any issues between the physicians and the Board."

Dr. Dolan’s association with AGH goes back 37 years, to when he practised in Pakenham with Dr. John Kiskis between 1975 and 1980. He served as AGH Chief of Staff from 1978-80.

Born in Ottawa, Dr. Dolan earned his medical degree at the University of Ottawa, interned at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, BC and completed his residency in emergency medicine in Louisville, Kentucky.

Between 1980 and 1998 he practised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; in Louisville, KY; in Ottawa at the Ottawa General Hospital Emergency Department; and in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia for a large oil company. In 1998-99, Dr. Dolan completed the University of Ottawa’s Family Medicine anesthesia program, which prepares family physicians to provide anesthesia services in smaller communities. He then established a family practice in Almonte.

A fully qualified emergentologist, Dr. Dolan has also been the Medical Director of the Lanark County Ambulance Service since 2000, when AGH began operating the ambulance service in partnership with the County of Lanark. He served as President of AGH Medical Staff in 2000-02 and as Chief of Staff from 2002-04.

Dr. Dolan is one of 11 family physicians with the Ottawa Valley Family Health Team (OVFHT), which is now operating in space at 95 Spring Street that the Hospital renovated to accommodate the OVFHT.

"The role the Hospital played in setting up the building for the Family Health Team is a very rational approach for the community’s health care needs," Dr. Dolan says. "The FHT will help the community recruit new family physicians."

While his career has taken him far from Eastern Ontario at various times, Dr. Dolan says he is glad to be back in the Ottawa Valley. "There have been an incredible number of changes since 1975, all of them inevitable," he says. "But, in some ways, the issues are still the same. We really are very fortunate to have a very good quality health care organization in a very nice small town."