Health System Integration Update: Filing of Regulations for Improved Home and Community Care Framework while Continuing to Maintain Stability of Services

Consistent with the government’s plan to build a better, more connected health care system centred around the needs of patients, the Ministry of Health filed new home and community care regulations in preparation for the anticipated upcoming proclamation of Bill 175, the Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act, 2020.

These regulations are part of the province’s planned new legislative framework for including home and community care as part of an integrated health care system through Ontario Health Teams, as first announced on February 25, 2020.

It is an important time to be working together to deliver better connected care for patients and families and improve home and community care as part of a fully integrated health care system. Over the past years, we have seen more than ever how important it is for health service providers to work together as one integrated team to deliver high-quality care to patients all across our province. This is especially true of home and community care providers, whose tireless efforts not only support patients at home or in the community but also help reduce the burden on our hospitals. Home and community care services have also played a critical role in supporting Ontario’s COVID-19 response. As we continue to move forward with these thoughtful, incremental changes to modernize home and community care, there will be no disruptions to patient care.

The new regulations will continue to ensure appropriate oversight and accountability is in place and will promote consistent, equitable and quality service, including an enhanced process for responding to and acting on complaints. They will also enable improvements and coordination. Among the changes:

  • Service maximums will be removed, allowing a focus on a coordinated approach to the best combined care
  • Strengthening patient’s rights to participate in care planning and have a family member or other caregiver participate with them and to receive information about their care
  • Better access to services in French
  • Patients who identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuk will have the right to receive services in a culturally safe manner

Once proclaimed and in place, the new legislative and regulatory framework will enable Ontario Health Teams to implement innovative models of care that integrate home care delivery across a coordinated network of providers. Patients will receive services that better meet their changing needs from a better connected and more responsive care team comprised of acute care, primary care, home care, long-term care and other providers.

While the legislative framework will help system partners make real improvements, it will not change current service delivery for existing clients and does not change the current care delivery roles of Home and Community Care Support Services organizations in providing an ongoing foundation for stability of care and support for modernization. The framework does not change the current delivery roles of health service providers funded for home and community care services either, or their contracted service provider organizations, nor does it change staff employment at any of those organizations. All current contacts for home and community care patients remain the same.

With over 674,000 Ontarians receiving home care annually and additional clients receiving community services, improvements will continue to proceed with careful planning to ensure workforce stability and continuity of care for patients and families.

The Ministry of Health would like to take this opportunity to express its gratitude for the diversity of opinions, perspectives and values that helped shape the vision for home and community care. The ministry will be continuing to collaborate with and keep informed all of our partners in this work to improve home and community care and build a better, more connected health care system centred around the needs of patients.