| Mar 02, 2006


Feature Article - March 2, 2006

Feature Article

March 2, 2006

Local HealthIntegration Networks - Government changesby ErnestLapchinski

The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care announced the formation of Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) in May 2004. Ontario has been divided into 14 LHINs based on ‘hospital service areas’, so that each LHIN contains at least one high volume centre hospital. The new networks will replace the Ontario Health Councils. Our community is in Local Health Integration Network # 10 South Eastern Ontario region.

A Local Health Integration Network will be a governance structure overseeing the delivery of health care at a local level. It is noted that Community Support Services must be integral to a newly organized system.

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Consumers and families must be central to this new agenda and involved in all aspects of planning, decision-making, implementation and delivery of health services. Access to daily living support, prevention of disease, promotion of healthy living, supportive housing, support to caregivers and other social supports are all important to allow people to remain in their home communities. Investment in these areas is necessary to address the needs of older adults, disabled persons and other need groups.

Collaboration between government ministries and municipalities to ensure availability of appropriate income supports, transportation services, ambulance services, affordable housing and recreational programs will also be necessary.

Currently, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MoHLTC) funded services and supports must be included within each LHIN’s planning and coordinating effort; these need to be viewed as a priority for increased investment over time. Accountability for funding and service performance will occur between the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care and Local Health Integration Networks. It is important to note the unique characteristics of each LHIN community to integrate activities and opportunities.

A wide educational system will be important to inform all involved agencies and individuals about optimum health practices and programs available, and to expand community participation. The system will need to rely significantly on local organizations and volunteers for optimum service delivery.

Land o’ Lakes Community Services is hosting a community meeting at the Lions Hall in Northbrook on March 8 from 2 p.m. 4 p.m. CEO Paul Huras and Chairperson Georgina Thompson of our LHIN #10 will give an overview of the LHIN program. Land o’ Lakes Community Services and Pine Meadow Nursing Home will make presentations and we encourage members of the community to come and ask questions as well.

Community attendance is important in order to become familiar with how our health services will be delivered in coming years. It is also extremely important to learn how this new legislation will affect rural communities.

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