Jeff Green | Apr 09, 2009
Back to HomeFeature Article - April 9, 2009 Local Health Integration Network meeting in FlintonBy Jeff Green
When the Province of Ontario established nine Local Health Integration Networks (LHINS) in 2005, the LHINS were designed to bring regional planning to many of the services that are funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
The Southeast LHIN funds hospitals, long-term care facilities, community care access centers, services for seniors, community health centres, and more in six eastern Ontario counties and the City of Kingston, to the tune of over $900 million each year.
Three years ago, the LHIN completed its first three-year plan, and this week the public sessions for the second three-year plan commenced with a meeting at the Flinton Recreation Centre on April 7.
The region that was covered by the Flinton meeting was Addington Highlands and North and Central Frontenac.
Georgina Thompson, who has been the chair of the Southeast LHIN since its inception, and will continue in the job until 2011, was at the event, and she said she has “been privileged to be involved in the development of the LHIN. Our goal at the start, which is still there, is to get the organizations that deliver care for people to see the bigger picture, and to work together to deliver better service for the people who should always be at the center of the health care system - the patients”.
Although she acknowledged that rural service agencies in Addington Highlands and North and Central Frontenac have always worked well together, she said it is “also important to develop cooperative relationships with urban-based hospitals and other service providers that people in the area access, either in Kingston, Napanee, or Belleville. Urban-rural cooperation is part of integration”.
She said that as the second three-year plan is being developed, there are several issues that are common to all of the LHINs throughout the province. These include: wait times in emergency departments; the number of patients who are taking up hospital beds but who would be better located either in long-term care facilities or at home with the right amount of homecare; and providing chronic care management for the growing number of diabetic patients in the province.
Among the issues of specific concern to the Southeast LHIN is the need to transport patients to services. The LHIN has been able to secure funding for several transportation vans that have been located throughout the region to help the existing transportation service providers, including one in Northbrook, one in Sharbot Lake, and one in Sydenham, but Thompson said “transportation continues to be a challenge for us”.
She also said that the LHIN might be able to provide support to Pine Meadow Nursing Home in its quest for an upgrade to an “A” class facility, which would mean two and one-person rooms at Pine Meadow in place of some of the four-person dormitory-style rooms that Pine Meadow currently has.
The home would like to increase the number of patients it can house and improve the quality of care, as well as build a 32-person supportive care facility on the same grounds for patients who don’t require a nursing home-style facility.
“Our LHIN Board had a tour of Pine Meadow about a month ago, and it is an excellent facility. We agree it needs an upgrade,” Thompson said.
The LHIN oversees long-term care but does not provide funding for capital improvements. “That comes from the ministry” she said “but they do consult with us, so we may be in a position to lend our support”.
A draft version of the three-year work plan will be presented to the public in the next three months, and the plan will be presented to the LHIN Board by the end of the summer, for implementation by the end of the year.