Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care was introduced in
January 2012 as the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's
("MOHLTC") plan to transform Ontario's health care
In a speech given to the Empire Club of Canada on January 27,
2014, Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
("Minister"), provided a progress update on a number of
Action Plan initiatives since the plan's inception two years
ago. The Minister's speech was followed by the release of Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care –
Year Two Progress Report("Progress Report").
The Minister affirmed in her speech that the Action Plan is the
right plan to transform health care in the province. A number of
health care system reforms were presented as examples of Action
Plan initiatives that provide Ontarian's with better access to
health care and made a "signficant" bend in the
province's health care cost curve.
Health System Funding Reform creates a
sustainable provincial funding model for hospitals by moving away
from a global funding system to a funding model tied more directly
to the care needs of the patient. Compensation under the new model
is based on a number of factors including the number of patients
that receive care and the evidence-based quality of services
Physiotherapy Services Reforms increase the
availability of publicly funded physiotherapy, exercise and fall
prevention services and make them more accessible to those who need
them the most.
The Minister's speech and Progress Report provide a high
level overview of the Action Plan's progress over the past two
The Smoke Free Ontario Strategy which has reduced
the smoking rate from 24.5% in 2000 to 19% in 2012. Proposed
amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act include steeper
penalties for selling cigarettes to children, bans on the sale of
flavoured tobacco, and broader restrictions on smoking in public
areas including playgrounds, bar and restaurant patios and outdoor
grounds of hospitals and specific government properties (except in
outdoor areas designated by the hospital board and government,
The Health Links program co-ordinates care for
patients with complex chronic conditions. In just over one year, 47
community Health Links programs have been developed. There are
plans to launch additional programs across the province;
Community Paramedicine Programs have reduced
the number of calls to 911 and transportation by EMS to the
emergency department related to unnecessary emergency room visits.
The MOHLTC is committed to investing $6 million to support the
expansion of these programs across the province;
The MOHLTC plans to implement two-thirds of the recommendations
made by Dr. Samir Sinha, expert lead for Ontario's Senior Care Strategy, in his
report to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and the
Minister Responsible for Seniors, Living Longer, Living Well. Dr. Sinha
recommends a shift from provding care in institutions to providing
care at home. In support of this recommendation, the government is
committed to expanding access to home care and community support
Future Commitments to Health System Transformation
The Minister in her speech stressed the importance of
"meaningful patient engagement" and future plans to embed
meaningful patient engagement in the health care system through
additions to the Excellent Care For All Act. The government will
set standards for responding to patient complaints and develop a
new patient advocate program.
The Minister also acknowledged the importance of personal
support workers (PSWs) in the provision of home care. Plans are
underway to strengthen the recruitment and retention of PSWs in the
home care sector. The Minister also acknowledged that developing
strategies to better support PSWs will take time, but it will be
addressed on an urgent priority.
We will continue to update you with respect to initiatives set
out in the Action Plan as information becomes available. We invite
you to contact us if you have questions about these initiatives and
how they may impact your organization.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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