Province announces health-care change, but impacts unclear for Parry Sound

Ford government introducing legislation to form super agency called 'Ontario Health'

Ford government introducing legislation to form super agency called 'Ontario Health'

"This unsafe Ford government reboot of our public health system must be stopped before patient care and safety fall victim to the gaps, holes, and pitfalls this massive overhaul will create", said CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.

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

Elliott said over the past five years, Ontario's administrative health costs have risen 30 per cent over the Canadian average, while more than 1,000 patients languish in hospital hallways every day, and average wait times to get into a long-term care home have ballooned by 300 per cent since 2003.

In announcing plans for Ontario, Health Minister of Health Christine Elliott spoke of making health care patient-centred and sustainable, calling the current system siloed and fragmented. "I think if we're going to make a massive change to health care, we need to make sure those people who work in the health-care system, everybody from our nurses and doctors to administrators and maintenance people have to be able to look at this and have a say".

As the province begins work to build a health care system centred around patients, Ontarians will continue as usual to contact their health care providers directly to get the services they need.

"She is saying people want to live at home, people want to stay and receive care at home", VanderBent told The Sault Star from Hamilton, Ont.

Closer to home, high Sault Area Hospital occupancy levels, often prompting the facility to operate at more than 100 per cent capacity, are the result of swelling numbers of alternate-level-of-care patients, the largest proportion of whom are awaiting long-term-care beds. "So, in the end, it will work out".

At the time, Elliott said the bill was "just a draft" and that the NDP were "fear mongering" when it came to concerns they raised about potential privatization of services. Some administrative jobs were lost in the process, but it meant the LHIN took on hundreds of people in what is now called its home and community care branch.

Providing patients, families and caregivers help in navigating the public health care system, 24/7. Whereas, home care, from a funding perspective, is probably the most underdeveloped part of the health-care system.

With the Progressive Conservatives holding a majority in the Ontario legislature, the first reading of the bill passed easily on Tuesday.

"You will continue to have access to the care you need and the health care provider you have built relationship with".

A news release states, "Ontario now has a large network of provincial and regional agencies, clinical oversight bodies and 1,800 health service provider organizations".

Sue VanderBent, CEO of the member-based organization representing Ontario's home-care services, said she believes the province is honest and is prepared to significantly beef up home care.

Health-care restructuring has a mixed record in Canada, and some experts warn that disruptive mergers can be more trouble than they're worth.

Dr. Nadia Alam, president of the Ontario Medical Association, welcomed the proposed changes, saying patients are now struggling to get the care that they need. "Today, hospital overcrowding is widely recognized as one of the biggest challenges facing Ontario's health system".

Home Care Ontario hopes that within six months, reforms it's suggesting will be in place, creating a more hospitable work environment for PSWs.

Vicki McKenna, the president of the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA, ) said the government's plan makes this a "destabilizing time" for nurses, especially for the almost 4,000 nurses that her agency represents who work for the LHINs.

Care providers will also benefit from the expansion of digital tools, enabling them to more quickly and comprehensively access the information they need, such as specialist advice and clinical supports.

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