Burlington among first to implement new Ontario health care model; how will it affect you?

Published December 2, 2019 at 3:28 pm

The Government of Ontario announced that Burlington would be one of 24 municipalities in the province to implement the new health care model.

The Government of Ontario announced that Burlington would be one of 24 municipalities in the province to implement the new health care model.

Local Progressive Conservative MPP Jane McKenna introduced the Burlington Family Health Team on Monday with the implementation of some of the proposed programs and services set to begin in 2020.

The People’s Health Care Act was introduced earlier this year by Ontario Premier Doug Ford as a way to lower costs, streamline health care, and lessen the burden on hospitals. The Ontario Health Agency will now govern healthcare under one agency after the elimination of Cancer Care Ontario, Trillium Gift of Life, and 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).

“This is an exciting time for health care in Ontario as we finally break down the long-standing barriers that have prevented care providers from working directly with each other to support patients throughout their health care journey,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Together with our health care partners, the Burlington Ontario Health Team will play an essential role in delivering on our commitment to end hallway health care and building a connected and sustainable public health care system centred around the needs of patients.”

The government insists that the transition into a new healthcare model will not disrupt services, and Ontarians will be able to contact their health care providers as they always have to access care.

“As the Executive Director of the Burlington Family Health Team, I have seen the benefits of providing care from not only a family physician but from other complementary health care professionals,” shared Joanne Pearson. “Currently, less than 15 per cent of the Burlington community has access to this type of team-based care. The 15 partner organizations within our Burlington OHT are committed to improving access to this model of care, as well as health education and preventative programs and services.”

Critics of the new model argue that the eliminated agencies offered specific types of services with their own mandates and scopes that can’t be addressed under one super agency.

“This government has shown time and time again that their interest is in cutting costs and the impacts of that be damned,” stated NDP leader Andrew Horwath at the time of the initial announcement.

Another point of contention was the 416 jobs lost due to the elimination of the healthcare agencies, despite Premier Doug Ford repeatedly promising that “not a single person (would) lose their job” under his government.

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