TORONTO — Ontario is delivering on its commitment to end hallway health care and build a connected and sustainable health care system centred around the needs of patients. The province is introducing Ontario Health Teams, a new model of care that brings together health care providers to work as one team.
Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, was at Thorncliffe Park Community Hub to announce the Toronto East Ontario Health Team as one of the first 24 teams in the province to implement a new model of organizing and delivering health care that better connects patients and providers in their communities 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.
“This is an exciting time for health care in Ontario as we finally break down the long-standing barriers that have prevented care providers from working directly with each other to support patients throughout their health care journey,” said Elliott. “Together with our health care partners, the Toronto East Ontario Health Team will play an essential role in delivering on our commitment to end hallway health care and building a connected and sustainable public health care system centred around the needs of patients.”
The Toronto East Ontario Health Team, known as East Toronto Health Partners, will create a local health care system that provides coordinated care for patients, reduces wait times and leads to better heath outcomes for the population. The team will provide a comprehensive basket of health and social services tailored to meet changing local needs, including primary to acute care, birth to end-of-life care, food security, supportive housing, home-based healthcare, community support services, settlement and employment.
“With our new Toronto East Ontario Health Team, patients will benefit from better integrated health care, with a seamless experience when moving between different health care services, providers and settings,” said Elliott. “I would like to thank all the health care providers and organizations that helped plan the Toronto East Ontario Health Team; there is lots of work to be done, but with their dedication and hard work, we will continue to improve health care in our communities and ensure Ontarians get the care they deserve.”
As it continues its work to integrate care, the East Toronto Health Partners will put in place 24/7 navigation and care coordination services for patients and families. Patients will receive these services through their integrated primary care teams and the broader Ontario Health Team partners. This work will be implemented in phases and over time will provide care for everyone within the East Toronto Health Partners population, with an initial focus on helping seniors and caregivers, particularly those dealing with chronic disease, people with mental health and substance use challenges, and priority neighbourhoods, to meet the local needs of diverse communities.
“We are incredibly proud of our partners and grateful for the collaborative work we are doing together to build a better, more integrated health care system for patients, clients and families,” said Anne Babcock, CEO, WoodGreen Community Services, on behalf of East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP). “It takes the creativity, flexibility and commitment of everyone involved to transform the delivery of local care to our communities. Today marks an important milestone in our journey to provide more seamless and accessible care experiences to our patients and to end hallway medicine.”
The Toronto East Ontario Health Team has already begun putting integrated care into action through their community-based approach to ‘winter surge’, a heightened demand for health and community care services that occurs during the cold winter months. There are 25 initiatives being provided from November 2019 to March 2020 by a number of health and community care partners together with the East Toronto Family Practice Network, a network of self-organized physicians and an anchor partner of ETHP, to help people in East Toronto stay well.
Ontario has a comprehensive plan to end hallway health care, which includes making investments and advancing new initiatives across four pillars:
- Prevention and health promotion: keeping patients as healthy as possible in their communities and out of hospitals.
- Providing the right care in the right place: when patients need care, ensure that they receive it in the most appropriate setting, not always the hospital.
- Integration and improved patient flow: better integrate care providers to ensure patients spend less time waiting in hospitals when they are ready to be discharged. Ontario Health Teams will play a critical role in connecting care providers and, in doing so, helping to end hallway health care.
- Building capacity: build new hospital and long-term care beds while increasing community-based services across Ontario.
- An Ontario Health Team will be responsible for delivering care for their patients, understanding their health care history, directly connecting them to the different types of care they need, and providing 24/7 help in navigating the health care system.
- Ontarians can be confident that they can continue to contact their health care providers as they always have to access the health care they need.
- The first wave of Ontario Health Teams is being approved after an extensive readiness assessment process, which involved significant time, collaboration, research and effort from partners across the health care sector.
- The government will continue working with its partners to review their applications to become an Ontario Health Team.
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Erica Di Maio
Communications, Michael Garron Hospital, Toronto East Health Network
Communications, East Toronto Health Partners
Communications, VHA Home HealthCare
Communications, East Toronto Health Partners