Northumberland Ontario Health Team Announced

On June 6, 2019, the Provincial Connecting Care Act came into force.  This governs a complete revision to how Health Care is managed in Ontario. The biggest change for Northumberland will be that the role of LHINs will be much reduced and replaced by Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) which will be overseen by a new agency Ontario Health.  Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health announced the approval of the Northumberland Ontario Health Team.  The idea is that the OHTs will manage and ensure integration of all health services in a geographic area – in this case Northumberland.  Or as MPP David Piccini puts it in a Press Release: “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.”

The Ontario Health web site says that:

Some provincial agencies (in whole or in part) are becoming part of Ontario Health in phases. These agencies are:

  • Cancer Care Ontario
  • Health Quality Ontario
  • eHealth Ontario
  • Trillium Gift of Life Network
  • Health Shared Services Ontario
  • HealthForceOntario Marketing and Recruitment Agency
  • 14 Local Health Integration Networks (non-home and community care functions only)

It’s not an overnight thing – it will take a while to work out the details but Northumberland is one of the first 24 teams in the province.  To get to this point, a team of Northumberland Health Care providers worked together to make it happen – below is a group photo of that working committee:

OHT Northumberland Planning Committee
OHT Northumberland Planning Committee

And here are the current members of the Northumberland OHT.

  • Local patients/caregivers
  • Local primary care physicians
  • Alderville First Nation
  • Alzheimer Society – Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland & Haliburton
  • Campbellford Memorial Hospital
  • Community Care Northumberland
  • Community Health Centres of Northumberland
  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  • Lakeview Family Health Team
  • Local community mental health and addiction services
  • Local home and community care providers
  • Northumberland County
  • Northumberland Family Health Team
  • Northumberland Hills Hospital
  • The Bridge Hospice
  • Trent Hills Family Health Team

To begin, the Northumberland team will focus on enhancing the coordination of health care services for rural populations – specifically those who experience significant barriers to care. Based on input and data gathered to date, year one projects include:

  • Volunteer Peer Support initiative;
  • Community Paramedicine;
  • Rural Outreach Clinics.
  • A fourth project team will focus on Digital Health.

The population served, as well as the scope of services provided, will expand over time.

Details of how funding will be organized have not been announced but the Press Release says that “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.”

When fully operational, the Ministry’s Guidance Document (as quoted by the OMA) says it will:

  • Provide a full and coordinated continuum of care for a defined population within a geographic region including primary care, hospital care, community and home care, long-term care, mental health and addictions services, and palliative care services.
  • Offer patients 24/7 access to coordination of care and system navigation services and work to ensure patients experience seamless transitions throughout their care journey. This does not mean that physicians are expected to be available 24/7, rather there is a patient navigator/care coordinator function required.
  • Improve performance across a range of outcomes linked to the ‘Quadruple Aim’: better patient and population health outcomes; better patient, family and caregiver experience; better provider experience; and better value.
  • Be measured and reported against a standardized performance framework aligned to the Quadruple Aim.
  • Operate within a single, clear accountability framework.
  • Be funded through an integrated funding envelope.
  • Reinvest into front line care.
  • Focus on digital health, in alignment with provincial digital health policies and standards, including the provision of digital choices for patients to access care and health information and the use of digital tools to communicate and share information among providers.

As well as improving health care because of better connectivity and coordination, there will also be efficiencies by having only one admin group instead of HR, IT, accounting, planning and admin staff for each entity.  And the “teams” are not new hires, just existing people organized differently.


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Linda MacKenzie-Nicholas
4 years ago

What we really need is an end to Hallway health care. This is not going to be accomplished without increases to beds in LTC facilities and additional home care staff. In addition PSWs are paid so poorly and/or so overworked or both, there are no longer enough PSWs to staff LTC facilities or Home care agencies. To top it all off , on a per capita basis, Goverment spending on Health Care is lower than all other provinces.
So team work may be great, but without the required funding provided to support health care services, there will be little if any improvement in the delivery of those services.

Jennifer Darrell
4 years ago

This group have worked hard and tirelessly on getting “their act together” and deserve huge kudos for all the time and energy they have devoted to this in a short period of time. They have “done Northumberland County proud” and we should be grateful for their efforts on our behalf.

Reply to  Jennifer Darrell
4 years ago

Yes, it is a super effort by a lot of groups who are trying to deliver a more “patient” focused health system at the local level!! Well put, Jennifer.

j t
4 years ago

Still can’t get a GP. What are they doing about that?

4 years ago

Really we should be part of the health group that includes PRHC
Need to see an orthopaedic doctor it off to Peterborough
Need to see a lung specialist it off to Peterborough
Need to see a cardiac specialist it’s off to Peterborough or Belleville

Jim Thomas
Reply to  Mark
4 years ago

…and public transit by bus or train to Peterborough for those who don’t have a car is virtually non-existent.

Ruth R
Reply to  Jim Thomas
4 years ago

Call Community Care. When I volunteered with them, I used to drive people to Peterborough frequently as well as Belleville, Toronto, etc. Better than a bus of train – no waiting.

Jim Thomas
Reply to  Ruth R
4 years ago

Thank you for that information. I thought Community Care was just for nursing home residents and/or those in wheel chairs, unable to use public transit.
Ironically, I have traveled in our Community Care vans a number of times, but only to accompany a family member who is disabled. Didn’t know I could use their services myself as well, if the need should arise.
Thanks again.

Just Wondering
Reply to  Mark
4 years ago

Not sure where you get your information but the Chief of Staff at NHH is an internal medicine doctor who specializes in cardiology, Kawartha Cardiology has a clinic in NHH, as does a respirologist. Wait times can be an issue, but they are local.

Reply to  Just Wondering
4 years ago

If that the case my do I get sent to Peterborough and Belleville for these services?
If you need an angiogram Peterborough is the place to go.

Everyone knows if you break a bone just head to PRHC, still NHH , will put a cast on but you are still sent PRHC

Merry Mary
Reply to  Mark
4 years ago

My Dentist recommended a Periodontist in Peterborugh when there is a great one in Cobourg and my Optometrist recommended an Opthamologist in Peterborough when there is a terrific one in Cobourg. I no longer go to that Dentist or that Optometrist.

4 years ago

This appears to be a good move for efficiencies in that the LHINs are finally getting replaced .They were primarily 14 independent Corporations. Each LHIN had it’s own Board, CEOs, VPs, Directors, Managers, “senior” staff etc., all doing the same function across Ontario, with each one developing it’s own “processes” and measurement tools! As someone who is acutely aware of this, we can only hope that the new OHT format will not become even more that the old “14 LHINS” in terms of massive replication of development of standards and measurements (metrics) across the Province which was evident in the activity of all those LHINs, as now we will have many more of the OHTs. Let’s hope they don’t develop into massive entities.
Given the emphasis the Health Legislation gives to the “patient” being central to system delivery, one hopes that there will be channel for ordinary patients to have real ongoing input at the new OHT level with something like a “patients advisory” group, with a clear formal mandate, similar to the current program developed by the former PATH Project or the one now is practice at the NHH.
Overall though, it could actually become a great format for delivery of health to all residents once up and runnings!