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Regional service led by Rouge Valley named to Honour Roll of 2015 Minister of Health's Medal

November 10, 2015 – The highly successful expansion of the  Regional Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Service across the Central East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) has led to the service recently being named to the Honour Roll of the 2015 Minister of Health’s Medal, which recognizes excellence in health quality and safety.

The regional cardiovascular rehab service, which is led by Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS), has demonstrated outstanding performance in meeting the criteria for this year’s medal theme, Putting Patients First, by improving access to patient care; providing better coordinated care; keeping patients well-informed; and engaging patients. The service does all of this by enabling patients from across the across the Central East LHIN who have cardiovascular disease—including including heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease and kidney disease— to access life-changing care at hospital and community-based facilities.

Rouge Valley has been offering cardiovascular rehabilitation since 2001, when RVHS became the first hospital with a dedicated facility for this program. As the regional lead and with the support of the LHIN, Rouge Valley then partnered with Lakeridge Health in 2012 to begin offering the service regionally—establishing centralized referral and booking and standardizing the delivery of quality care at all cardiovascular rehab sites throughout Scarborough and Durham.

In the last two years, Rouge Valley has been able to further expand the regional service, thanks to continued funding from the LHIN, and additional hospital partnerships. The regional cardiovascular rehabilitation service now has 12 hospital and community-based facilities across the Central East LHIN where classes are offered to more than 3,000 patients a year. Rehab sites are located in Scarborough, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Bowmanville, Cobourg, Port Perry, Lindsay, Cambellford and Peterborough, with almost 95 per cent of patients accessing a site within 30 minutes from home, and more than 90 per cent waiting less than four weeks to begin the program.

The service is delivered across the Central LHIN by expert staff, who lead consistent, high-quality weekly classes at every site. Classes include education, exercise training and counseling. The staff and patients are supported by more than 100 volunteers, who immeasurably amplify the experience.

During the six-month program, patients learn lifelong preventative strategies for improved cardiovascular health. Since its launch, the number of patients participating in the program has continued to increase, leading to many improvements for patients, such as: reduced risk of hospitalization and the need for clinical intervention; an overall improvement in patients’ blood pressure; better fitness levels with 90 per cent of patients exercising at least 150 minutes a week; more patients quitting smoking; and an improved overall quality of life.


“The development and expansion of the Central East LHIN’s Regional Cardiovascular Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention Program is a clear demonstration of how our health service providers and other community partners are continuing to work together to achieve the Central East LHIN’s Integrated Health Service Plan goal to improve the vascular health of our residents. We are thrilled that this patient centred program has been recognized by Minister Hoskins.”

— Deborah Hammons, Chief Executive Officer, Central East LHIN

“I am personally very appreciative of our LHIN, because it chose to lead, supporting a vision to transform CRSP services within the Central East LHIN into a regional system of care that by design puts the needs of patients first and reduces their risk of cardiovascular disease and hospitalization”.

— Dr. Joe Ricci, Vascular Health Physician Lead, Central East LHIN & Director, Regional Cardiac Care Program, Rouge Valley Health System

“I would like to congratulate the Central East LHIN, Rouge Valley Health System and all other community partners for being named to the Minister’s Medal Honour Roll for this important initiative. This community based program is improving health outcomes for the residents of Peterborough and I am so pleased to recognize the staff and volunteers who support the programs and thank them for the work they do to provide quality care to our residents.”

— Jeff Leal, MPP, Peterborough

“I was so impressed by the dedication of the staff, the value of the program and my own personal outcomes, that I have become a volunteer to assist other patients. In essence I have never left the service!”

— Ken Scullion, Rouge Valley Health System, CRSP Volunteer

Quick Facts

  • The Minister’s Medal is a competitive, annual recognition program that celebrates the collaborative efforts of Ontario’s health care providers in improving care for Ontarians.
  • This year marked the third year of the Minister’s Medal program.
  • The medal is awarded to one individual champion who has demonstrated leadership in focusing on quality; and one team-based initiative that demonstrates commitment to collaboration, improvements in the health system and value for quality care.

Learn more