February 28, 2019
Follow-up to Government’s Plans for Health Care Reform
By now, most of you have likely seen news coverage about Tuesday’s announcement by Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care regarding plans to overhaul the province’s health care system.
Although the plans have been rumoured for several weeks, the official announcement confirmed the creation of a single “super agency” that will be known as Ontario Health. Under this plan, twenty existing agencies will be absorbed into Ontario Health, including the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), Cancer Care Ontario and eHealth.
Ontario Health will also have oversight of newly created “Ontario Health Teams”. These will be locally based health care groups (family physicians, hospitals, home care agencies, mental health providers, etc.) that will be encouraged to work together (voluntarily) so that patients can move more seamlessly through the system.
Naturally, many of you are likely wondering what this means for Circle of Care given that a significant portion of our funding is provided by the LHINs. Although specific details and timing for the overhaul have not yet been communicated, the government has stated that this will be a “long-term transition”, possibly spanning several years. Stakeholders have also made clear that continuity of care for patients within the system will remain a top priority. So, the short answer is: business as usual.
That said, within the Ford government’s mandate to “end hallway health care”, the appetite for quality home and community care has never been greater. This gives organizations like ours an excellent opportunity to showcase the valuable role we play in improving hospital-to-home transitions, and decreasing the likelihood of hospital readmissions or entry into long-term care. In the coming weeks and months, as the government continues to release more details, Circle of Care will play an active role in various forums and working groups. As plans begin to take shape, more communication will follow.
For now, I encourage everyone to take time to explore the Ministry’s website, to learn more about the proposed changes and to speak with their manager if they have any questions.