The elimination of regional leadership in Ontario’s health system: Bob Bell
2019-11-29 from thestar.com
This week the Ford government announced that the first Ontario Health Team would be established in Mississauga. Two weeks earlier, the termination of the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) entered its final stages with the announcement that 14 LHINs would collapse into five temporary bodies, which will disappear as up to 50 Ontario Health Teams appear across the province.
The replacement of LHINs with health teams is reason to evaluate the role of regional leadership in Ontario’s health system.
Health teams are designed to integrate care in hospital and community, including primary care and home and community care. They are not designed to provide local oversight of health providers (given that health teams are led by providers, they cannot oversee themselves), nor are they responsible for implementing provincial change initiatives for a specified region or population.
Although they may serve a regional population at a point of undefined future “maturation,” it may be many years before the entire population of Ontario is covered by 50 Ontario Health Teams. At present, they serve the patients registered to the provider organizations in the teams.
LHINs on the other hand were responsible for all patients living in a well-defined geography and the 14 LHINs included all Ontarians. The LHINs were responsible for providing two-way communication linking the ministry of health to their regions. Working in partnership with the ministry, the LHINs spread innovation in health service delivery across the province. On a daily basis, they ensured that health organizations were financially accountable and delivered the services expected of them.
According to the auditor general in 2015, the LHINs employed approximately 550 people receiving about $45 million a year while helping the ministry to oversee about $25 billion in spending.
Read more here