Ontario Health update

Ontario Health is embarking on a comprehensive recruitment process for a permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO). During this search, Susan Fitzpatrick has agreed to act as Interim CEO.

Fitzpatrick will play an important role in the next phase of setting up Ontario Health and will draw on her considerable background to ensure a seamless patient experience. She most recently held the position of CEO at the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network, and was previously the Associate Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

The People's Health Care Act, 2019

Bill 74, The People's Health Care Act, 2019, received Royal Assent on April 18, 2019. The legislation supports the establishment of local Ontario Health Teams that connect health care providers and services around patients and families, and will integrate multiple existing provincial agencies into a single health agency – Ontario Health.

Read the news release.

Telephone Town Hall summary

On April 3, 2019, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, with Helen Angus, Deputy Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, held a telephone town hall to discuss Ontario Health Teams.

They spoke about the work being done to develop a long-term plan to strengthen the public health care system by focusing directly on the needs of Ontario's patients, families and caregivers. Callers were invited to ask questions that were answered by Minister Elliott and Deputy Minister Angus.

Below are some of the questions and responses from the telephone town hall.

If you have questions about Ontario Health Teams, please email ontariohealthteams@ontario.ca.

Please see health.gov.on.ca for more resources to support you on your journey to becoming an Ontario Health Team. We will continue adding resources to this page as they become available.

What's the best way to approach the assessment process?

We are asking providers to complete a self-assessment together to determine whether or not they have experience working in an integrated way, are willing to commit to the core elements of the model, and have a clear understanding of their population and the patients they plan to serve. This self-assessment will identify how ready they are to work in an integrated manner.

This will not be the only opportunity for providers to indicate their readiness. There will be ongoing intake for interested providers, with dates for subsequent rounds to be confirmed at a later date. The self-assessment process has a six-week timeframe.

What supports are in place for applicants?

Resources to support providers and organizations in the readiness assessment process are available online. This includes access to data and information to help them prepare to work in a more integrated manner.

How will other areas be rolled into or affected by this new structure? Will there be changes to the procurement or funding structures for pharmaceuticals and medical devices as an example?

Entitlement-based programs would remain as they are and managed by the ministry. Over time, as Ontario Health Teams evolve, procurement may change to ensure even access across the province to drugs and devices.

If funding is from one envelope, will the Ontario Health Team itself determine how those funds are allocated?

Ontario Health Teams will decide how to self-organize and what governance structures best meet the needs of their patients and local communities. How funds are allocated will not be mandated. We want providers to look at their data, understand their population, and determine how to work together to get the best health outcomes for the people they are committed to serving.

Groups that are delivering integrated care now have advised that it's a relationship of trust. You have to have trust around the table and you have to know that everybody has the same goal – delivering patient-centred care and making sure that the person and their family/caregiver, are supported throughout.

If an Ontario Health Team is a partnership with different providers, will the providers be housed in one building with perhaps a board?

There are opportunities for different governance models. There is no need for all providers to be under one roof. It's about making sure that the team is working together.

The guidance material outlines that the providers who have built those trusting relationships are to determine the best approach to governance. These could be contracting arrangements, alliances, joint ventures, etc., – it really should be determined by the providers based on the needs of their patients and communities.

Depending on which geography they are in, these governance arrangements can be quite varied. Leaving this flexible and open allows the providers to come forward with fit-for-purpose governance.

Is six weeks enough time to look at the self-assessments from 10 or more proposals?

We expect this to be a continuous process. There will be several rounds of Readiness Assessments for health service providers to demonstrate their readiness to become an OHT.

What role will county-operated health and social services play within Ontario Health Teams?

We recognize the importance of housing and other social services and hope that Ontario Health Teams will foster relationships with partners in those sectors to develop some innovative solutions that make a difference for people, particularly those people with mental health issues and others who need additional support to live in the community.