Ontario dissolves local health networks, creates central body

Grant Boone
February 28, 2019

A news release states, "Ontario now has a large network of provincial and regional agencies, clinical oversight bodies and 1,800 health service provider organizations".

It is described as a "super-agency" that will dissolve the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and merge their duties with those of six provincial health agencies, including Cancer Care Ontario and eHealth Ontario.

At the announcement Tuesday in Toronto, Health Minister Christine Elliott said too much time and money is spent maintaining a fragmented system. "At the same time the people of Ontario deserve peace of mind that this system is sustainable and accessible for all patients and their families, regardless of where you live, how much you make, or the kind of care you require". Marie is prompting a delegation to travel to the Philippines this month to try and recruit men and women interested in being trained in the health-care position and work in the city.

Integrating multiple provincial agencies and specialized provincial programs into a single agency to provide a central point of accountability and oversight for the health care system.

The province says it is investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to establish a comprehensive and connected system for mental health and addictions treatment, and adding 15,000 new long-term care beds over five years and 30,000 beds over 10 years. The government tabled proposed legislation called the People's Health Care Act on Tuesday to enact the changes.

"Ontario Health will begin to take shape this spring, but I do want to stress this is not going to happen overnight", said Elliott.

A request for comment from the LHIN on the province's announcement was redirected to the ministry.

The bold changes aren't necessarily going to be positive for patients or the public, warns Peter Bergmanis, co-chair of the Ontario Health Coalition's London chapter.

The central agency will be named simply Ontario Health.

"Now the Progressive Conservative government is amalgamating them into one massive bureaucracy". "So we have to figure out how to build up that home and community care so that they can take more pressure from the hospital".

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"If this new approach reduces organizational silos and also provides for more flexible ways to fund the delivery of health-care services locally, then I think that's a big advantage", said Barrette.

As well, Ontario Health Teams will be established to provide what Elliott calls seamless access to health services, including primary care, hospitals, home and community care, palliative care, residential long-term care, and mental health and addictions services.

"I think that sense of urgency to say, 'What can we do to increase service to support this family so that they don't need to go and spend 12 hours in a hospital hallway?'" "Integrated care for our patients really is essential to make this system work for our patients".

The "duplicative" work refers to some of the administrative functions, Elliott stressed, but she said those services will be required in the new local health teams, too.

Tijana Martin/CANADIAN PRESSOntario Health Minister Christine Elliott meets patients at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare before making an announcement in Toronto on February 26, 2019. These teams would support continuous access to care and smooth transitions as patients move between one provider to another, and receive care in different locations or health care settings.

Rai still is awaiting the exact details of how the changes will shake out, but is encouraged the provincial government has focused its attention on making the disparate parts of the existing system work better together.

"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". "The hope is with better integration, when someone falls ill, all the necessary pieces will come together". Most co-ordinate home care.

Providing patients, families and caregivers help in navigating the public health care system, 24/7.

The government's plan also doesn't address how the health care system is funded.

"Imagine, we can book appointments online, " Elliott said.

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