Ontario Overhauls Health-Care System With New 'Super Agency'

Ontario Overhauls Health-Care System With New 'Super Agency'

"We promised that we would put more people on the front line in health-care services, and that's what we intend to do so that there are people who are working in the LHINs, for example, right now who provide wonderful home care", Elliott said.

The government will introduce legislation that, if passed, will consolidate multiple health care agencies and organizations within a single agency - Ontario Health.

The NDP has warned that language in the draft bill allows for greater privatization in the health system.

"We want to make sure we can connect the care so people can become well when they return home and remain in their own communities", Elliott told CTV News on Tuesday afternoon. "We look forward to hearing more about what this means for the patients we serve, our partners and our teams at Quinte Health Care hospitals", she said.

Anthony Dale, the CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, said a broader view of the health-care system will help address overcrowding and help break down barriers that exist between care providers in the health-care system.

The central agency will be named simply Ontario Health.

The transition is expected to be gradual, with the LHINs staying in place for about three years - or as long as it takes to get new health teams up and running across the province. "Health care providers are overstretched, and the high-quality care Ontarians have come to expect is at risk", it continued.

He saw similar problems in other provinces, including Alberta and British Columbia, where the pendulum has swung between local and centralized health-care delivery without clear improvements in patient care.

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.

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Ontario Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott during the throne speech at Queen's Park in Toronto on July 12, 2018. Local health care providers will be empowered to work as a connected team, taking on the work of easing transitions for patients across the continuum of care.

The Minister's Patient and Family Advisory Council, which provides advice on health-care priorities that have an impact on patient care and experience, will become a permanent advisory body. "We all know that it's very important to get home and community care built up", she said.

People will still be able to choose who provides their care, and more choices will be available through technology, Elliot said, such as giving patients an option to securely access their electronic health records and virtual care options.

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. "I don't think there is quite as much to (the announcement) as they would like to have us believe".

Home Care Ontario is also launching a "really big" campaign to improve personal support worker recruitment and retention. 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.

She didn't say if the government expects to save money through the agency consolidation, but said Ontario spends 42 cents of every dollar on health care, and studies show the province isn't getting good value for it. "This creates confusion for both patients and providers trying to navigate the health care system".

Specifically, they are waiting for more clarification on how mental health and addictions care will be handled in the new system.

There was no word on job cuts, but talk is of "understanding the assets in the system" and making decisions that best serve the agency, including on the level of staffing it needs.

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