In support of the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and as part of the province’s plan to end hallway health care, the Ontario government is announcing a new Ontario Health Team in Algoma and is providing additional funding to better connect care.
“Over the past several months, Ontario Health Teams have demonstrated remarkable
responsiveness to the COVID-19 outbreak by simplifying the purchase of personal
protective equipment, supporting the staffing of long-term care homes and assessment
centers and expanding virtual care options,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and
Minister of Health. “They’ve done so by breaking down long-standing barriers to better
connect care, both in support of patients and our brave frontline heroes. Today’s
announcement of a new Ontario Health Team in Algoma will build on this success as we
continue to implement our plan to defeat COVID-19.”
The Algoma Ontario Health Team is one of five new Ontario Health Teams being
established across the province at this time. Ontario Health Teams bring together health
care providers to work as one team to improve patient outcomes. Through an Ontario
Health Team, patients will experience easier transitions from one provider to another,
including, for example, between hospitals and home care providers, with one patient story,
one patient record and one care plan. Patient and families will also have access to 24/7
navigation and care coordination services.
The Algoma Ontario Health Team will focus on frail, elderly and patients with conditions
that are best managed through home and in the community.
“This is great news for the people of Sault Ste. Marie. The creation of the new Algoma
Ontario Health Team – as well as the additional funding – will not only help our region
effectively respond to the dangers posed by COVID-19, but help to build a new, integrated
health care system for all patients,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “By
creating Ontario Health Teams throughout the province, our government is demonstrating
its commitment to improving patient outcomes and ending hallway healthcare.”
The province is also investing up to $25.25 million to directly support the 29 approved
Ontario Health Teams. Of this funding, $9.5 million will be dedicated to virtual care, which
will provide more support for vulnerable populations and individuals who have tested
positive for COVID-19. With the remaining $15.75 million, each Ontario Health Team will
receive up to $375,000, to be used for:
– Expanding digital care, including training, education and purchasing new tools and
technology for virtual visits, booking online appointments and patient portals;
– Dedicated human resources to help develop and implement this new model of care,
including more collaborative responses to COVID-19; and
– Purchasing business information tools to measure the performance and outcomes of the Ontario Health Team model.
“This is wonderful news for the residents of our community and the Algoma District.” Said Wendy Hansson, Co-Chair Algoma Ontario Health Team. “Our Algoma Ontario Health Team will enable the creation of an integrated health care system that is focused on the unique needs of Algoma residents. We are working together to implement new models of organizing and delivering health care that better connects patients and providers to improve patient outcomes. It has been a privilege to work together with all of our Algoma Ontario Health Team partners and I look forward to building on our collaborative efforts for the benefit of all those we serve in Algoma.”
“This is a great step toward the coordination of patient services in Algoma.” Said Dr. David Fera Co-Chair, Algoma Ontario Health Team. “The Algoma Ontario Health Team will concentrate its initial efforts in two areas. One will be to improve coordination of care for frail seniors. The other will be to improve and coordinate care in the community so that patients do not have to go to the emergency department for medical problems that are best dealt with outside of the hospital. The goal of the Algoma Ontario Health Team is to ensure patients will have timely access to the right care, with the right provider in the right care setting. Patients should experience seamless transitions throughout their care journey in a system that is understandable, digitally-enabled, and collaborative in its approaches to care.”
Last year, the Ontario government began implementing its plan to build a new, integrated health care system for patients by announcing the first 24 Ontario Health Teams and Ontario Health, a single agency to oversee quality health care delivery, and improve clinical guidance and support for providers. The strong partnerships and integrated care established by Ontario Health Teams and Ontario Health has helped better position the province to respond quickly and effectively to COVID-19. As Ontario Health Teams continue to expand across the province, these partnerships and the lessons learned will also help better prepare the province for a potential second wave of COVID-19 and flu season.