Several communities in Simcoe County are among those to get a new Ontario Health Team, and that includes Barrie.
The Ministry of Health announced on Friday the introduction of eight new Ontario Health Teams. These teams are part of a new approach to health care the province says brings together health care providers as one collaborative team. They are designed to ensure patients experience easier transitions between providers.
Among the eight new teams is the Barrie and Area OHT (BAOHT) as well as the North Simcoe OHT covering Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny, and Tay. With Friday’s addition, the province has 50 Ontario Health Teams which cover 92 per cent of Ontario’s population.
The BAOHT approval follows two years of collaboration and consultation between local healthcare, community and municipal partners. The BAOHT is co-chaired by Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), the Barrie and Community Family Health Team and patient advocate Donald Carty.
“Embedding the patient, family and caregiver voice in planning and decision making has been and will remain essential to achieving our vision at the BAOHT,” says Donald Carty, BAOHT co-chair. “This voice serves well as a compass for this new collaborative way of delivering a connected health care system that reflects the practices, principles and values that patients, families and caregivers say are important to them.”
People can still access healthcare in the usual manner, through a visit to a doctor, nurse practitioner, or emergency room. From there, an OHT helps coordinate the next steps in a healthcare journey, be it to a different hospital, home care provider, or long-term care.
The BAOHT is made up of 24 partner organizations and will help care for almost 200,000 people across Barrie, Innisfil, Springwater, Oro-Medonte, and Essa Township.
The 24 partner organizations are the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County, Bayshore Healthcare, Entite4, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle, Canadian Mental Health Association, Georgian Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, SE Health, Barrie Community Health Centre, CBI Health, Home and Community Care, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Barrie and Community Family Health Team, City of Barrie, Hospice Simcoe, Town of Innisfil, Barrie and Community Family Medicine Clinics, Closing the Gap, New Path, Township of Essa, Barrie Family Health Organization, County of Simcoe, Ontario Health, and Victoria Village
The province began the process of transitioning to the Health Team model prior to the pandemic. “Long before any of us had ever heard of COVID-19, remember those days? I can just barely myself, but our government did make a commitment to end hallway health care and build a better-connected healthcare system that is based on the needs of patients and families. From this goal formed the vision for Ontario health teams,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott on Friday. “We will be providing $9 million, approximately $1.1 million for each new team, to help them begin the important work of connecting care for patients and, of course, to support their local COVID-19 response.”
The 42 that were in operation spent much of the pandemic working to provide care such as establishing assessment centres, launching virtual care initiatives and rolling out vaccines.
“Ontario Health Teams have been critical in the province’s fight against COVID-19 and in building an integrated, connected health care system centred around the needs of patients,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “By expanding the number of teams, we will continue to ensure patients have access to the supports they need throughout their health care journey with seamless transitions between care.”
The eight new Ontario Health Teams are:
- Hastings Prince Edward OHT in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties;
- Upper Canada, Cornwall and Area OHT in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, City of Cornwall, Akwesasne, parts of Russell Township and rural Southeast Ottawa;
- Four Rivers OHT in North Grenville, West Ottawa, Northern Lanark County, and Arnprior, McNab and Braeside;
- Network 24 OHT in the majority of Renfrew County and the Township of South Algonquin in Nipissing District;
- Grey-Bruce OHT in Grey and Bruce Counties;
- Barrie and Area OHT in Barrie and surrounding areas;
- Elgin OHT in Elgin County; and
- North Simcoe OHT in Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny and Tay Townships, and Christian Island.