Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Bill Would Overhaul $50 Billion Health-Care System, Close CCACs

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Bill Would Overhaul $50 Billion Health-Care System, Close CCACs

Article excerpt

Ontario bill would overhaul health system


TORONTO - Ontario's Liberal government introduced legislation Thursday to improve patient care through better integration of the many service providers in the province's $50-billion health-care system.

The 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) set up by the Liberals will be given an expanded role, while the Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) created by the previous Progressive Conservative government will be shut down.

The LHINs will be responsible for oversight and delivery of primary care as well as home and community care, and will hand out $25 billion in funding every year, half of the province's health-care budget.

"It's about integrating the different parts of our health care system, and turning it around so we...look at it from the perspective of the patient and caregiver, the family and community," said Health Minister Eric Hoskins.

The LHINs will get additional responsibility for "planning and performance" of primary care providers, including doctors, who have been locked in a lengthy battle with the Liberals over a new fee schedule.

"This will allow us to work with primary care providers to identify what services are available, to look at the needs of communities and do that based on population, and then to plan exactly how services can be improved," said Hoskins.

The Ontario Medical Associaton said the Liberals' legislation "violates the government's Constitutional obligation to negotiate" the provision of medical services.

"The province must work with Ontario's doctors in partnership to make any changes going forward," OMA president Dr. Virginia Walley said in a statement.

The legislation formalizes the relationship between public health units, boards of health and the LHINs, and will help eliminate "silos" in the system, added Hoskins. …

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