LONDON : In support of the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and as part of the province’s plan to end hallway health care, the Ontario government is announcing five new Ontario Health Teams and is providing additional funding to better connect care.
“Over the past several months, Ontario Health Teams have demonstrated remarkable responsiveness to the COVID-19 outbreak by simplifying the purchase of personal protective equipment, supporting the staffing of long-term care homes and assessment centers, and expanding virtual care options,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
“They’ve done so by breaking down longstanding barriers to better connect care, both in support of patients and our brave frontline heroes. Today’s announcement of five new teams will build on this success as we continue to implement our plan to defeat COVID-19.”
The five new Ontario Health Teams are:
• Algoma Ontario Health Team in Algoma District;
• Niagara Ontario Health Team in Niagara Region;
• Ottawa East Ontario Health Team in Eastern Ottawa, Eastern Champlain and a certain portion of Ottawa Centre, offering services in both official languages;
• Western Ontario Health Team in London-Middlesex; and
• Western York Region Ontario Health Team in Vaughan, Richmond Hill and King City.
Ontario Health Teams bring together health care providers to work as one team to improve patient outcomes. Through an Ontario Health Team, patients will experience easier transitions from one provider to another, including, for example, between hospitals and home care providers, with one patient story, one patient record and one care plan.
Patients and families will also have access to 24/7 navigation and care coordination services.
“We have been provided with a remarkable opportunity to improve access for our patients and work more collaboratively as a care system,” said Linda CrossleyHauch, Co-Chair, Western Ontario Health Team.
“It is especially significant today, in the midst of a global pandemic, that we continue to find ways to work together in a more integrated and seamless way..”
The province is also investing up to $25.25 million to directly support the 29 approved Ontario Health Teams. Of this funding, $9.5 million will be dedicated to virtual care, which will provide more support for vulnerable populations and individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.
With the remaining $15.75 million, each Ontario Health Team will receive up to $375,000, to be used for:
• Expanding digital care, including training, education and purchasing new tools and technology for virtual visits, booking appointments and patient portals;
• Dedicated human resources to help develop and implement this new model of care, including more collaborative responses to COVID-19; and
• Purchasing business information tools to measure the performance and outcomes of the Ontario Health Team model.