UPDATE: Acting Vancouver Island Health Authority CEO confirmed in job

Dr. Brendan Carr previously served as executive vice-president and chief medical officer in Victoria

The Vancouver Island Health Authority has chosen one of its own as its new president and CEO, after conducting an extensive international search.

Dr. Brendan Carr, placed in the job on an interim basis in May following the retirement of Howard Waldner, had been hired by VIHA in 2012 as executive vice-president and chief medical officer.

“We were looking for a strong leader and we’ve got a strong leader, he’s actually proven that in his year with us,” said VIHA board chair Don Hubbard.

After a contracted headhunting firm completed an exhaustive worldwide search for candidates, the board was presented with a number of qualified candidates, Hubbard said. They hailed from everywhere from Europe to the Southern Hemisphere, he added.

While the board wound up sticking with the man already in the job, Hubbard insisted Carr was not brought in last year as the heir apparent.

“We didn’t even know that Howard Waldner was going to announce his retirement at that time,” Hubbard said.

“The board believes in vetting (potential management hires) and getting the best possible candidate we can find.”

The fact Carr was already with VIHA illustrates how well the organization has done hiring for top positions, he said.

The search process came in under the budgeted $140,000, he said. While exact terms of Carr’s contract were not available, Hubbard said total compensation for the job works out to about $400,000 per year.

Carr comes with a range of credentials. Not only is he a medical doctor and an experienced emergency room physician, he holds a masters in business administration and holds certifications as a physician executive and healthcare executive. He has also completed a research fellowship with the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation and has been active in teaching.

Hubbard said the board is “thrilled” to have Carr at the helm for VIHA now and in future.

“We’re just in the middle of strategic planning for the next five years, and fortunately, he’s been involved in that.”

Among major projects in the Capital Region, the Royal Jubilee Hospital’s Patient Care Centre has been completed, but others remain, such as the replacement of Oak Bay Lodge. Carr will oversee building and service delivery upgrades, including the ongoing implementation of VIHA’s new electronic health recording program. The system – already rolled out at Victoria General and the Jubilee – aims to ensure that emergency rooms have access to a patient’s full medical records and can provide appropriate care quickly.

Prior to joining the Vancouver Island Health Authority, Carr served as vice-president of medicine with the Capital District Health Authority in Halifax and was an assistant professor at that city’s Dalhousie University.

Carr was travelling back from the Maritimes at the News‘ deadline, but said in a statement that he looks forward to working with VIHA’s community partners to renew the authority’s focus on population health, quality and innovation and community engagement.

“Improving the quality of care and examining how we can better integrate care across the health system is a top priority as we move forward,” he said.

editor@vicnews.com