February 26, 2019

Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, announced the Government of Ontario's plan for developing an integrated patient care system.  The plan is to focus on the needs of Ontario's patients and families and is intended to improve access to services and the patient experience by:
  • seeing local health care providers organize themselves into coordinated teams (i.e. Ontario health teams) to provide services to patients; anticipates there could be 30 to 40 local health teams across the province at maturity
  • providing patients, families, and caregivers with a structure that supports them in navigating entering, during and exiting the patient health care system, 24/7
  • providing a central point of accountability and oversight for the health care system through Ontario Health, a single agency that focuses on achieving the integration and providing very specialized provincial health care where beyond capacity of local care delivery
  • moving forward on access to secure digital tools, including online health records and virtual care options for patients – a 21st-century approach to health care.
The details received about the plan indicated that is about improving patient-centred care through connected health care services. This plan is not about restructuring public health or making changes to municipal paramedic services management. Clearly, long-term care home capacity is part of the solution to more hospital beds.  Today’s announcement also re-emphasized the government’s commitment to invest in building 30,000 long-term care beds over ten years and to establish a comprehensive and connected system for mental health and addictions treatment.

AMO’s President, Jamie McGarvey, and the Chair of AMO’s Health Task Force, Graydon Smith, had a productive meeting with Minister Elliott prior to the announcement.  With a new community lens being brought to patient health care planning and delivery and with residents increasingly looking to their councils to represent their community health interests to the provincial government, more MOHLTC-AMO interaction makes sense. AMO welcomes the Minister’s commitment to us for increased ongoing dialogue about the government’s plan for implementation and transition.  

AMO will continue to analyze the municipal impacts. Conversations with the government will be grounded in the recommendations of AMO’s recently released health policy discussion paper Partners for a Healthy Ontario: A Check-up on the Municipal Role for Health.  

For more information, see the Ontario news release and more details about the plan on the Ministry website.