By John Swartz
The province of Ontario’s revamp of health care funding and delivery moved a step closer to being managed regionally through Ontario Health Teams (OHT). Friday, the lead agency, The Couchiching Family Health Team, and partners the County of Simcoe, City of Orillia, Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, Helping Hands and others became one of the first 31 areas selected to proceed to formally creating an OHT in this area.
The province believes an amalgamation of sorts of the management of various facilities, agencies, programs and services, primarily through budget control and including coordination between primary care facilities (Soldiers’) and all other healthcare providers will result in lower health care costs. The change in health care in Ontario is also intended to make it easier for patients to navigate through the various entities to get service (too often treatment for one ailment is divided between two or more delivery providers, each with their own standards, forms to fill out, and locations to visit).
The province previously announced regional Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) were being replaced by geographically smaller OHTs which would include more service providers than the LHINs did. The LHIN for this area already was divided into sub regions and the Couchiching sub region committee moved quickly to get support for an application. The alternative would be for area healthcare in Orillia, surrounding townships and Rama, be parceled out to other groups making application to become OHTs.
The selection is step one of many and will take a few years to transition from the current model of budgetary and management of healthcare delivery.
(Photo by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)