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A 24-page “discussion paper” released by the health ministry on Thursday calls for family physicians to be more accountable to government through Local Health Integration Networks, which would release clinics’ performance records to the public. The province also proposes closing down the “cumbersome” Community Care Access Centre program, while improving home-care delivery by adding more at-home nursing services for those who need them, among other initiatives.
“Given the magnitude of the changes being considered and the lack of details provided, Ontario’s doctors have concerns with the timeline laid out for discussion,” said Dr. Mike Toth, president of the Ontario Medical Association.
Senior staff from the OMA met with health ministry officials Thursday morning to be briefed on the report. They were told the consultations would happen over the next few months, spokeswoman Danielle Milley told the Star. She would not say how much time the OMA is looking for.
“Any reform to Ontario’s health-care system must draw on the expertise and ideas of doctors, who are on the front lines providing care to patients every day,” Toth said.
The ministry’s paper, “Patients First,” calls for the creation of LHIN sub-regions that would help match unattached patients to primary care providers. These sub-LHINs would allow the ministry to “methodically measure patient outcomes in primary care to help understand the patient experience accessing primary care, including same-day and after-hours care.”
“By removing the structural duplication that exists between CCACs and LHINs, and aligning all the major sectors — public health, primary care, hospitals, home care and long-term care — under one umbrella, LHINs can ensure there are smoother transitions of care for the public and a more efficient and cost-effective health system.”