New health care program to connect patients with right service

Grant Boone
December 9, 2019

The Eastern York Region North Durham Ontario Health Team has been announced as one of the first 24 teams in Ontario to implement a new model of organizing and delivering health care.

Thompson and Pettapiece say the Huron Perth and Area Ontario Health Team's vision is a sustainable people-driven system that strives to provide a positive experience for all.

Through the new team, which was announced in Orillia, patients will experience easier transitions from one provider to another, including, for example, between hospitals and home care providers, with one patient story, one patient record and one care plan. The teams are tasked with organizing patient care and smoothing transition for patients from different care providers and services.

The Ontario government is touting the ongoing collaboration of more than 60 health-care providers in Huron and Perth counties as a model in organization and delivery for other health teams in the province to follow.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott was on hand today for the announcement and assured patients that the new system will make getting health services in the city much faster.

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"Already through the Ontario Health Team process, we've been able to bring all providers of mental-health and addictions services together, which includes family health teams, primary-care providers, client advisers and other community organizations, to develop an inventory of the services that are in our system, spanning the life cycle", said Catherine Hardman, executive director of Choices for Change, an addictions services provider in Stratford.

The Ottawa Health Team - one of the groups created to implement organizing and deliver health care in a new way - will get the green light from Health Minister Christine Elliott on Friday, this newspaper has learned.

Elliott said integrating the several groups that participate in the LHIN's, will clear a large portion of the bureaucratic red tape. But after receiving 150 applications from potential teams, Elliott conceded that there might eventually be more.

"The shared goal and commitment that has moved us to this point of readiness is what makes Muskoka and Area great. We have all been making a great deal of effort to come to this point and have earned the support of primary care clinicians for this model, and I am looking forward to what will be coming next, for all of us", said Dr. Keith Cross, Family Physician, Cottage Country Family Health Team. So, for now, LHINs will continue to be in charge of home care. "Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is committed to this initiative as we believe it will foster more integrated and seamless care, and ultimately, healthier communities", said Natalie Bubela, President & CEO of Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare.

He noted, though, that the initial emphasis would be on improved patient and provider experience under current funded levels, rather than cutting health-system costs. Many health teams are led by hospitals, which are the biggest players.

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