In January 2012, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Deb
Matthews (the "Minister"), released
Ontario's Action Plan to Transform Health Care (the
"Action Plan"). At the time of its
release, the Minister committed to reporting back in one year on
the results and progress made on the Action Plan.
In a speech given to the Canadian Club in Toronto on January
16th, the Minister released Ontario's Action
Plan for Health Care: One-year Progress Report (the
"Progress Report"). According to the
Progress Report, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (the
"Ministry") has delivered on many
commitments in the Action Plan including:
Moving Procedures into the Community by opening two
new midwife-led birthing centres;
Expanded Scopes of Practice by giving pharmacists the
authority to administer flu vaccines, adapt existing prescriptions
and prescribe smoking cessation drugs;
Funding Reform by implementation of a
"Quality-Based Procedures" funding formula that bases
hospital funding for specific procedures on the number of patients
treated, efficiency and best practices; and
Faster Access and Focus on Quality in Family Health
Care by enhancing benefits to patients under the negotiated
two-year Physicians' Service Agreement1.
The Progress Report referenced the new Health Links Program that
was launched late last year. The purpose of the Health Links
Program is to co-ordinate the care of seniors and other high-needs
patients between different health care providers and to develop
personalized care plans. There are 19 early adopter Health
Links that will be submitting business plans to the Ministry in the
In her speech, the Minister committed to funding stroke
treatment, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart
failure, systems chemotherapy, coronary artery disease with
surgical intervention and colonoscopies based on the
"Quality-Based Procedures" model.
The Minister further committed to moving more procedures out of
hospitals and into specialized clinics. This includes a request for
proposal that will be sent out province-wide seeking an expansion
of specialized clinics for cataract surgeries. Later this
year and into next year will be other requests for proposals for
procedures including dialysis, hip and knee surgery, MRIs and
colonoscopies. The services that will be outsourced to specialized
clinics will still be covered by OHIP to the extent that those
services were insured while they were being performed in
Other Future Commitments
Reduce childhood obesity by 20% over the next 5 years;
Reduce youth smoking and tanning by minors;
Implement the government's "Senior's
Strategy" 2; and
With Cancer Care Ontario, create an online tool to assess an
individual's cancer risks and to identify if an individual
requires genetic testing, prevention, support or screening.
For more information, please contact the author.
1.The Progress Reports states that, among other things, the
new Physicians Services Agreement will ensure (1) better
access to virtual care through telemedicine initiatives, e-consults
and virtual connections between family doctors and specialists;
(2) expansion of quality improvement plans to primary care;
and (3) increasing after-hours access to family health care
2.In developing the Seniors Strategy the Ministry is
relying on a number of recommendations from Dr. Sinha's report,
"Living Longer, Living
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