The province’s new agency to overhaul a “disconnected” medical system will be called Ontario Health and set up local teams to provide care more “seamlessly,” Health Minister Christine Elliott says.
Calling the health system “siloed and fragmented,” Elliott said Tuesday that the new legislation, if passed, would transform the patient experience by making it easier to navigate.
The legislation will be introduced Tuesday afternoon.
Elliott said there has been too much “tinkering around the edges” of the health-care system and not a willingness to tackle broader reforms.
Ontario Health will create local teams to guide patients through the system, such as from hospital to home care, to eliminate “frequent gaps in care” and avoid the “guesswork” on navigating the system, she added.
“The structure of our system is flawed,” she added, in an announcement Tuesday morning at the Bridgepoint rehabilitation hospital.
Elliott vowed that publicly funded universal access to care remains a priority.
“That means paying for services with your OHIP card,” Elliott said.
Reforms are desperately needed to focus on the needs of patients with 1,200 people daily being treated in hospital hallways because of overcrowding and 30,000 on waiting lists for nursing home beds, Elliott added.
The announcement followed weeks of leaks, including the NDP’s release of a draft government bill Elliott dismissed as a “very early” version.
As the Star first reported Jan. 17, the Progressive Conservative government has been planning a new health care “super agency” that will subsume about 20 health agencies to provide for streamlined accountability.
Those agencies include Cancer Care Ontario, eHealth Ontario, various local health integration networks created by a previous Liberal government, and Trillium Gift of Life Network.
Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robferguson1