Ontario health-care transformation to be unveiled today

Henrietta Brewer
February 28, 2019

Health-care providers will also have more care choices because digital care will give them quick access specialist advice and clinical supports, said the province.

Elliott said the government will begin creating Ontario Health this spring but said the changes will not happen overnight.

When care is funded in silos, care ends up being delivered in silos.

Bureaucrats said they aren't in a rush to dissolve LHINs because they co-ordinate care for numerous province's most complex patients.

Over time, the province plans to introduce entirely new processes to speed up care. "This will enable local teams of health care providers to know and understand each patient's needs and provide the appropriate, high-quality connected care Ontarians expect and deserve", said Elliott.

Providing patients, families and caregivers help in navigating the public health care system, 24/7. "These teams will be built to guide patients between providers and shepherd you and your families through transitions". "Tell us what and why and when and with how much and then hold us to account".

The North East Local Health Integration Network's 2018-2019 business plan stated it had 166 service agreements, of which 33 were with long-term care homes, worth $1.4 billion a year.

Improving access to secure digital tools, including online health records and virtual care options for patients - a 21st-century approach to health care.

Home Care Ontario is asking the province to put its money where its mouth is, lobbying in a pre-budget submission for a one per cent increase in home-care funding.

The idea, Ms. Elliott said, is to have local organizations such as hospitals, community health centres, home-care providers and doctors voluntarily form a team, then apply to the government to be the central point of contact in a geographic area, or for specific kinds of patients such as the frail elderly or children with complex needs. Ontario has tried out family health team models in the past, a system where physicians practice together in a clinic that may include other publicly funded services such as a dietician, nurse practitioners or psychologists. There will be an ongoing process to support interested groups to become an Ontario Health Team. The province noted that there are multiple provincial agencies that offer clinical guidance, evaluation, public information and health sector analysis and some of their work is being duplicated. The plan will also create "teams" of providers, including hospitals, working more closely. Each of these agencies also has a full senior management team and back office support, and over time some of this work has become duplicative.

"The way the bill is written, they can take mental health, long-term care, home care, hospitals, and pull them all together and manage them under one system", said Bisson.

The government tabled proposed legislation called the People's Health Care Act on Tuesday to enact the changes. Elliott made no mention of public health units.

"We rank poorly on critical factors such as wait times, quality of care and system integration compared to our provincial counterparts".

In Muskoka, health providers overseen by the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN included two hospital sites, four long-term care homes, five organizations provincial mental health and addictions services, and 16 agencies providing home and community care.

This transition would roll out in phases to ensure the continuity of patient care.

Horwath has warned against privatization, implying that patients may have to pay for care - something the government denies.

"The money can follow the patients", said one official, who like each of those speaking at the briefing did so on the condition of anonymity."It's been a case of right dollar, wrong pocket".

Enhancing primary care, or empowering physicians to be health care navigators, has been a focus of many studies and policy experiments in Canada and beyond, Blomqvist said. The creation of a permanent Council will ensure the government partners with patients to gain critical insights into how they experience the health care system and reflect those insights in decision making. It is expected that it will take years for the LHINs to be dissolved because of the role they now play in co-ordinating local home care.

For medical emergencies, call 911 or go to the emergency department. "Realistically, I'd like the Ontario health system to get better". Plus, it funds $143 million in home care annually.

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