Published: Thu, February 28, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Health system overhaul a step towards privatization - Bisson

Health system overhaul a step towards privatization - Bisson

The CBC says the Ontario government has announced the creation of a central agency called Ontario Health to oversee the health-care system.

However, Health Minister Christine Elliot says changes have been made to the legislation from the draft. "We hope that this becomes more smoother in the future, and then patients get better care at home", she said.

"The value of our health care system is locked in silos", Elliott said.

The plan will apparently scrap the Local Health Integration Networks that increased bureaucracy across the system but did not deliver the health-care coordination promised.

But she also acknowledged that there was a lot of uncertainty about the future of the local health integration networks and the functions they carry out following the province's announcement.

But one theme that could be gleaned was that this was about amalgamating healthcare services under an all-encompassing super-agency, Ontario Health, and the 30-50 Ontario Health Teams it expects to manage that are either local networks of healthcare provision or have a province-wide specialized focus, such as the frail elderly or children with fragile medical conditions.

As expected, the minister also confirmed that a new superagency, Ontario Health, would absorb the functions of six health-care agencies, including Cancer Care Ontario, and 14 local health integration networks (LHINs), the organizations that now oversee home care and manage the waiting lists for nursing homes. "This will enable local teams of health care providers to know and understand each patient's needs and provide the appropriate, high-quality connected care Ontarians expect and deserve", said Elliott. Local health care providers will be empowered to work as a connected team, taking on the work of easing transitions for patients across the continuum of care.

The Ontario Health Coalition said it would fight any attempt to privatize the public non-profit health services, while the Canadian Union of Public Employees said it will begin escalating actions across the province to push the government to reconsider the changes.

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"It better have closed the loopholes that allows the province to belly up to our health-care dollars and it better close the loophole to this super agency".

Elliott did not give details on the number of job-losses or cost savings that would result from combining the provincial agencies. "Our work will continue and is essential to the long-term sustainability of the health care system", Oglaza said.

"That lack of communication and coordination can turn into large cracks in the system".

The legislation did arrive, 20 minutes into a one-hour briefing, after parliamentarians at Queen's Park had been summoned to vote in the proposed bill, The People's Health Care Act, 2019. You will be able to book appointments online and have access to your own health-care record. "By relentlessly focusing on patient experience, and on better-connected care, we will reduce wait times and end hallway health care".

"What's happened in health care in this country is we've become experts at merging and unmerging, rather than providing health care", Mr. McNamara said. Speaking after the same meeting, Egberts said the OHA report helped "to make the case for why hospitals need continued surge funding and why we need to have inflationary funding returned on a regular basis now, because we went many years without it". "I don't think there is quite as much to (the announcement) as they would like to have us believe".

"We certainly don't want any of the current systems in place to be in jeopardy through a transition process", said Cooper Burger. She also said there's a need for other investments.

"Evidence in Alberta and Nova Scotia show this sort of amalgamation only leads to longer wait times and more dysfunctional primary care", he said in a statement.

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