Officials at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance expect to hear this week if the provincial government agrees with a proposal for developing a Chatham-Kent Ontario Health Team (CKOHT).
The team would be comprised of various health-care organizations that work in the municipality, including the alliance; the LHIN; the March of Dimes; Thamesview, Tilbury District, and Chatham-Kent health teams; St. Andrew’s Residence/C-K Hospice; Transform; Westover Treatment Centre; and Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres.
According to the provincial government, Ontario Health Teams are being introduced to provide a new way of organizing and delivering services in local communities. Under Ontario Health Teams, the health care providers (including hospitals, doctors and home and community care providers) will work as one co-ordinated team – no matter where they provide care.
Greg Aarssen, chair of the CKHA board, said about 90 parties came together in late April to discuss the possible formation of an Ontario Health Team in Chatham-Kent. From there, they discussed how they would work together, and made a submission to the province in mid-May.
“The government is seeking to reduce inefficiencies,” he said. “We’ll find the inefficiencies in our system.”
Lori Marshall, president and CEO of the CKHA, said a focus on the quality and consistent care for a patient can reveal where there are inefficiencies and duplications in the system where there are overlaps.
“The more we can collaborate, we can increase quality of care and reduce risk,” she added.
Marshall said greater emphasis will be placed on patient navigation of the health-care system and the patient and his or her family will have more control over their health care and delivery of services.
“Hospitals are wonderful institutions for the delivery of health care. We’re here for you when you need to be here,” she said. “But a patient spends far more time outside of the hospital being well or receiving outside care. The system is there to help you figure out where to best receive the services.”
If the CKOHT is approved by the province, the new team could be up and running by the fall.
Aarssen said there will be another intake in the fall in terms of Ontario Health Teams, should the CKOHT miss out this time.
If they ultimately aren’t approved, he believes the process so far is still very useful.
“If we are unsuccessful, so much good work has been done to this point. We’d encourage management of the various groups to continue to work with one another to make gains. There are some opportunities identified,” he said.