New Ontario law will improve patient access, care and transitions

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Ontario introduced new legislation on Thursday that would, if passed, improve access to health care services by giving patients and their families faster and better access to care and putting them at the centre of a truly integrated health system.

The Patients First Act would give Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) an expanded role, including in primary care and home and community care. This would improve and integrate planning and delivery of front-line services and increase efficiency to direct more funding to patient care within the existing system.

The system-level changes would mean easier access to care, better coordination and continuity of care, and a greater focus on culturally and linguistically appropriate services. They would support the Action Plan by:

  • Improving access to primary care for patients – such as a single number to call when they need to find a new family health care provider close to home.
  • Improving local connections and communication between primary health care, hospitals, and home and community care to ensure more equitable access and a smoother patient experience.
  • Ensuring that patients only have to tell their story once, by enabling health care providers to share and update their health care plans.
  • Making it easier for doctors, nurses, and other primary care providers to connect their patients to the health care they need.
  • Providing smoother patient transitions between acute, primary, home and community, mental health and addictions, and long-term care.
  • Improving consistency of home and community care across the province so that people know what to expect, and receive good care regardless of where they live in the province.
  • Strengthening health planning and accountability by monitoring performance.
  • Ensuring public health has a voice in health system planning by establishing a formal relationship between LHINs and local boards of health.
  • Facilitating local health care planning to ensure decisions are made by people who best understand the needs of their communities, and that LHIN boards reflect the communities they serve. – CINEWS
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