Ontario Taking Further Steps to Support Integrated Patient Care
March 17, 2021
TORONTO — The Ontario government is taking further steps to build an integrated, connected health care system centred around the needs of patients. Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, issued orders under the Connecting Care Act, 2019 to transfer the Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) and non-patient care functions from the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) to Ontario Health. The transfers will take effect on April 1, 2021. "Over the past year, we have seen more than ever how important it is for health service providers to work together as one integrated team to deliver high-quality care to patients all across our province," said Minister Elliott. "As we continue to move forward with these thoughtful, incremental changes to modernize home and community care, there will be no disruption to patient care." On February 25, 2020, the government announced its plan to modernize the delivery of home and community care with Ontario Health Teams gradually assuming responsibility for care delivery within an integrated and patient-centred service model. At the onset of the pandemic, the province paused the planned transfer of non-patient care LHIN functions to Ontario Health to ensure the stability of the health care system and to focus health care resources on responding to COVID-19. Given the complexity of Ontario's organ and tissue donation system, the transfer of TGLN was also paused to ensure there would be no disruption to patients and families involved with organ and tissue donation. Ontario is now resuming this process in order to break down long-standing barriers and allow for the seamless coordination of services for patients. Following the transfer, to ensure the ongoing stability of services while home and community care transitions into Ontario Health Teams, LHINs will begin operating under a new business name, Home and Community Care Support Services, to reflect a singular mandate to deliver patient care. During the transition, patients and caregivers will continue to access home and community care services in the same way and use the same contacts. During this time TGLN will also transfer into Ontario Health. Services to patients and families involved with organ and tissue donation will continue uninterrupted. Continuity of executive leadership will support local health system response to the COVID-19 pandemic. "These transfers signal an important step forward in the modernization of our health system, says Matthew Anderson, President and CEO of Ontario Health. "As one unified organization, Ontario Health is well positioned to improve the delivery of integrated care and to connect and coordinate the health care system better for all Ontarians. I just want to emphasize that there will be no changes to how patients access home and community care or long-term care home placement services and there will be no changes to their regular contacts."
The strong partnerships and integrated care established by Ontario Health Teams and Ontario Health have helped Ontario’s health care system to quickly and effectively respond to COVID-19. This includes supporting long-term care homes, simplifying the purchase of personal protective equipment, helping establish assessment centres, launching virtual urgent care initiatives, and expanding remote patient monitoring programs to support COVID-19 patients and other vulnerable populations.
To support a smooth transition and ensure operational continuity, in the immediate term after the April 1, 2021 transfer, the 14 LHIN boards will remain in place including their directors who are cross appointed to Ontario Health to provide governance and oversight for the interim home care organizations. It is anticipated that a new board will be established on July 1, 2021 and cross appointed to all 14 Home and Community Care Support Services corporations.
For information and referrals related to home and community care and long-term care home placement, patients can continue to call 310-2222 (English) or 310-2272 (French), no area code is required.
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