Tim Withey’s passion for healthcare in Huntsville and the surrounding area has been evident for years.
Thus, his recent appointment to the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Healthcare Integration Network (LHIN) board of directors should come as little surprise to most individuals.
After an application process spanning almost a year and a half, Withey was informed of his appointment to the LHIN board on Friday evening and his first official committee of the whole meeting was set to take place only three days later Monday, March 6.
“It’s my baptism by fire,” jokes Withey. “I’m very excited, this is going to be really interesting. I’m going to hit the ground running (on Monday).”
After an initial application, an interview at the LHIN office, a recommendation from the LHIN board and approval from the Ministry of Health, Withey’s appointment was confirmed on Friday, March 3 by an Order in Council signed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
Withey joins Larry Saunders, who is also from Huntsville, on the LHIN board. He says although they represent Huntsville on the board, their duty is to ensure the whole North Simcoe Muskoka healthcare region is doing well.
“My passion is healthcare and making sure its working in our community and now the broader community as a member of the LHIN board,” says Withey. “It’s a three-year appointment with a two-term max.”
A former town councillor, Withey’s volunteer work on various boards and advocacy for healthcare in the community spans over 20 years.
From his six and a half years on the District Health Council to spearheading the Save Our Hospital rallies in 2015, Withey has been a champion for healthcare throughout.
The District Health Council eventually became the LHIN when the Dalton McGuinty Liberals restructured the management of healthcare in the province. The LHIN is an administrative body under the Ministry of Health which manages healthcare. There are 14 LHINs across Ontario.
Withey sat as vice chair of the Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) board of directors before running for council 2010. MAHC runs the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital and South Muskoka Memorial Hospital.
Withey also previously sat on the board of directors for Fairvern Nursing Home and spent most of 2016 on the Fairvern re-development committee. He remains steadfast on the importance of the area’s only not-for-profit public nursing home remaining viable and indeed expanding its space.
“Their waiting list has been over 80 for the past three months,” says Withey. “There’s 76 beds at Fairvern and the more beds they can add the better for the community.”
The North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN manages six hospitals and a range of other services with an budget slightly over $890 million budget serving the District of Muskoka, most of the County of Simcoe and a portion of Grey County with a population of nearly half a million people. Muskoka sees around $250 million of that budget.
Whether it was his work locally on the Fairvern board or now at the provincial level as part of the LHIN board, one thing is certain: Withey believes in stable, vibrant healthcare in the community.
“The more you give back to the community, the better it will be,” says Withey.