The Government of Ontario recently announced changes to the way health care will be ran in Ontario by proposing Bill 74, known as ‘The People’s Health Care Act, 2019’. If passed, the current Ontario health care system will be restructured to form Ontario Health agencies in order to provide a one-point-access of care for patients.
Currently, Ontario has 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) and 6 separate health organizations for particular care systems. If legislation is passed, the LHINs and the 6 health organizations will consolidate into one agency, known as Ontario Health.
The 6 health organizations that will transition into the agency with the LHINs are:
- Cancer Care Ontario
- Health Quality Ontario
- eHealth Ontario
- Trillium Gift of Life Network
- Health Shared Services Ontario
- Health Force Ontario Marketing and Recruitment Agency
Ontario Health agencies will consist of members and teams across hospitals, long term care facilities, primary care and home care, just to name a few. These members will work together as one team to integrate a patient’s journey of care into one simple access-point. Ontario will create 30 to 50 teams to serve the health needs of approximately 300,000 patients each. The agencies will be flexible with regards to the delivery of care in certain geographic regions and the specific needs involved.
What does this mean for patients?
By consolidating several organizations, Ontario Health agencies will focus on reducing administrative redundancy and invest in front line workers to serve patients. The unification of these agencies will allow for continuity of care for patients as they transition from one provider to another. Patients will have 24/7 support in navigation between services.
The Ontario Health agencies will also integrate the use of technology for a more streamlined and efficient healthcare system. With the proper safeguards in place, patients will have more options to access their health care services by being able to schedule appointments online, speak to specialists virtually and access health records.
The introduction of Ontario Health agencies is a major shift that Ontario is moving towards to form a more cohesive, patient-centric system. Ontario Health agencies will centralize several health care resources to one area, empowering patients and their access to care. With more updates to come, we are optimistic that these changes will improve patient health outcomes all across the province.
References: Ontario Newsroom