Northern voices form the “bedrock” of the plan which will guide the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) over the next three years, according to the organization's CEO, Louise Paquette.
In developing its 2013-2015 integrated health service plan, the North East LHIN consulted with about 4,000 Northerners through an online survey and in-person consultations.
“This plan reflects what northerners told us,” Paquette said.
The North East LHIN's board approved the plan at its Jan. 24 meeting. The document is currently in translation, and will be officially released Feb. 7.
There are four main priorities in the plan. These are:
-Increasing primary care co-ordination.
-Increasing care in transitions (for example, from hospital to the home).
-Making mental health and substance abuse treatments more accessible.
-Being sensitive to the needs of diverse population groups.
Beyond reflecting the priorities of Northerners, Paquette said these priorities are also in line with the direction being taken by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Ministry officials have reacted positively to the plan's contents, she said.
“They actually said, and I quote, that the North East LHIN's (integrated health service plan) is 'concrete and targeted, demonstrates an increased level of integration activity, increased consultation across the service sectors and improved metrics,'” Paquette said
“So they had nothing but good things to say, which we're very encouraged by.”
Northerners were quite clear that they do not want to see the status quo.
CEO, North East LHIN
She said she hopes the 185 health-care organizations funded by the North East LHIN will now adjust their priorities to match those in the plan.
“It helps that we are looking at our delivery as a system and not as individual organizations,” Paquette said. “Anything we can do as a LHIN to promote that and ensure alignment will go a long way to improving our system of delivery and care.”
Of course, the adoption of the integrated health service plan may mean some changes in the health-care system.
“But again, it's because Northerners want those changes,” Paquette said.
“Northerners were quite clear that they do not want to see the status quo, that they understand that our health-care system was developed years ago, and that we need to evolve to meet the need of people today.”
In particular, the health-care system is changing to better meet the needs of older adults in the community, “so if you go to hospital for an acute episode, that you can transition home with the care that you need,” she said.