Debra Cooper Burger, interim administrator for Fairvern Nursing Home in Huntsville, said the long-term care home was anxious to learn more about the provincial government's plans for strengthening the health-care system, especially related to long-term care and seniors' care. "Residents in Nipissing can be confident that there will be a sustainable health care system for them when and where they need it".
As well, Ontario Health Teams will be established to provide what Elliott called 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. Almost 9,000 people work at the 14 LHINs, including care co-ordinators.
VanderBent said Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott was well schooled on health-care woes, including the issue of swelling numbers of alternate-level-of-care patients housed in hospitals, while serving for a number of years as the province's first patient ombudsman.
A group of providers will come together - for example a hospital, a local nurse practitioner clinic and a mental health team - and will be responsible fiscally and for the delivery of care to everyone within the geographic area, Elliott said.
North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN financial responsibilities include the transfer of roughly $960 million through service accountability agreements to 61 health-service providers, plus home and community care, across Muskoka and parts of Simcoe and Grey counties. "These teams will be built to guide patients between providers and shepherd you and your families through transitions".
As well, the 14 local health integration networks will be consolidated into five regional agencies of Ontario Health.
Ontario Health Teams will be funded and held accountable for improving patient experience and people's health. "Integrated care for our patients really is essential to make this system work for our patients". "I don't think there is quite as much to (the announcement) as they would like to have us believe". Health care providers can participate in a readiness assessment process to become an Ontario Health Team in their specific geographical area.
There are multiple provincial agencies that offer clinical guidance, evaluation, public information and health sector analysis.
Kevin McNamara, Nova Scotia's deputy health minister from 2009 to 2013, said his province's decision to combine nine district health authorities into one in 2015 diminished local control and led to too much top-down meddling.
The Ontario Health Coalition said it would fight any attempt to privatize the public non-profit health services, while the Canadian Union of Public Employees said it will begin escalating actions across the province to push the government to reconsider the changes.
Elliott didn't say if the government expects to save money through the agency consolidation, but noted Ontario spends 42 cents of every dollar on health care, and studies show the province isn't getting good value for it. Providers and patients will also be engaged on the procurement of medical products and services to help ensure the ones being used are delivering the best patient outcomes. This Council provides advice on key health care priorities that have an impact on patient care and experience, and drive meaningful changes to provincial health care planning, programs and policies.
Health-care restructuring has a mixed record in Canada, and some experts warn that disruptive mergers can be more trouble than they're worth.
The government's plan also doesn't address how the health care system is funded.
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