Ontario government announces health-care overhaul

Ontario government announces health-care overhaul



we're following a big story that will affect all Ontarians the provincial government just outlined its prescription for how to improve the Medicare system Health Minister Christine Elliot says her government's goal is to make health care more patient-centered those are his or her words and reduce so called hallway health care here are some of Elliot's news conference at Bridge point hospital through Ontario health teams patients would finally have a say in their health care journey with safeguards in place of course to protect information patients would have an option to securely access digital health services such as making online appointments talking to a specialist virtually or having access to your own electronic health records and a great part of Ontario health teams is that they will rely on leadership that already exists in our community rather than create another level of bureaucracy and management CBC's Meghan Fitzpatrick was at that news conference we've got her right here in studio now the minister calling the current system siloed and fragmented not positive words to use so then she came up with a plan to improve it what was at the heart of that two key things really is what they were announcing today to reorganize how health care is delivered in this province the government plans to introduce what they're calling Ontario health teams and this is a way they say to better Shepherd patients through the continuum of care so really the idea behind it being no matter what part of the healthcare system you need to use that you will be better cared for whether it's in a hospital your primary care family doctor if you need mental health care the ideas to connect all those providers through one team and so the government is encouraging local healthcare providers to come up with a proposal on their own they're gonna set some rules set some criteria and then those teams can apply to the province for funding essentially to provide that care so more details to come on that sue Hanna but that's one of the key things that they're announcing to try and better deliver more patient-centered care as you mentioned the second key thing they announced today what they're calling the a new agency called Ontario Health they plan on collapsing a number of existing agencies right now known as local health integration networks and they are meant to coordinate care right now in the community like homecare they're gonna merge all of those under one umbrella along with a number of other existing agencies like Cancer Care Ontario the Trillium Gift of Life Network and again this is the idea is to break down these silos to eliminate duplication among agencies and cut back on some of the bureaucracy so those were the two main headlines out of this morning's announcement how they plan to overhaul how healthcare is delivered Christine Elliot made a point of emphasizing her government does not plan to introduce more private health care in Ontario take a listen to the Health Minister one thing I do want to make very clear is our government's commitment to the fundamental right of Ontarians to universal access to a publicly funded system of health care to me that is part of what is being a Canadian and being a very proud Ontarian [Applause] that's why throughout our governments process of developing a vision for our health care system I do want to say very clearly and directly to the people of Ontario that our primary objective has always been and will always be to strengthen our publicly funded health care system and that means paying for your services with your OHIP card so she's telling patients not much will change for them they'll still go to their doctor's office show their health card their lip card and it should be seamless through this transition process and then at the end of it when it all takes place she is saying this isn't gonna happen overnight this will take years before all these changes they're announcing today will actually be enacted and they have to put this in legislation and pass that through the legislature but of course the Doug Ford government does have a majority at Queen's Park so that shouldn't be a problem for them reaction yet or is this still being judged digested yeah it's still coming in but these changes were anticipated there have been quite a few leaks over the last few weeks in the in various news reports that the super agency was and there were various health care stakeholders at the announcement this morning providing reaction the Ontario Medical Association for example was there I had a quick chat with their representative and they're saying in general they liked the idea of more integrated healthcare this isn't a new idea if people have been trying to do this in very probably in most provinces for a long time so she said wraparound healthcare that idea is good she wants to see the details though and those will come later in the legislation some concerns to Hanna about job losses if you who are eliminating agencies and consolidating them under one umbrella organization doesn't that mean job losses that question was put to the Health Minister multiple times during the news conference and she did not have a direct answer she tried various ways of answering it without talking about job losses at those agencies nor did she have a dollar figure but how much money this might save the overall health care system she was emphasizing the government is going to be spending money in a better way a more efficient way not necessarily less money spent for patients and she was again saying that it's one of her government's priorities to invest in frontline health care workers but again the question was what about the back-office workers at all those Lynn's at Cancer Care Ontario and we don't know that yet and that is one concern that was expressed by the union representing some health care workers they quickly put out a news release after the announcement saying they plan to push back on this restructuring they're not happy with what they're hearing about it so far but again more details to come when we see the legislation and there is a technical briefing later this afternoon where we might get a better understanding of exactly how this transformation will take place all right thank you so much Megan you're welcome Natalie Mehra is the executive director of the Ontario Health coalition should tell you that's an organization that advocates for universal public health care she's right here in studio welcome to the program thank you you know cutting down bureaucracy making a team approach getting rid of silos all sounds pretty good as a patient yeah the the minister is using very carefully chosen language coordinating services a team etc to cover for a piece of legislation which in its leaked version anyway and she hasn't distanced herself from that at all gives the Minister and the government brand-new powers into this super agency that they are creating to order the privatization of significant chunks of the healthcare system to facilitate mega-mergers every merger under this legislation has to be a mega merger has to be to major service where are you getting this it's actually written into the draft legislation that was leaked three three or four weeks ago by a civil servant she was deeply concerned about it and at that you know all of this time the Minister although she's tried to kind of obfuscate and use skate around the issues has never actually denied the substantive issue here which is that these are new powers to order restructuring and privatization of health care you've been in the game long enough to know the draft legislation and final legislation can be completely different one can be a one can be Zed so perhaps there's some room in there but when the when the me and you're probably rolling your eyes at me but I'm taking it right now is the minister's saying pay with your Oh hip card that doesn't sound of me like privatizations yeah so what she's trying to kind of skate around is that the legislation gives power to the Minister into the super agency that's being created to order the privatization so that is the transfer from public and nonprofit to private and for-profit health care support services other types of services the mega mergers of our hospitals or local hospitals long-term care home care the privatization of our home care and so on and so forth that is all in the draft legislation which you know has been on track according to their schedule and is being introduced according to their schedule I don't think at this point we're going to see major changes to that legislation that will actually come out of one o'clock today and now we help me to understand how this could change life for patients because I mean I've been a patient I'm sure you've been a patient in the in the healthcare system and you know hope to never be again and I hope you're not either yeah but there are times when you just end up there and really all you want to do is get better and you want somebody to help you get better how is that going to change from my perspective as a patient well I think when people in the in the provincial election you know Doug Ford traveled around to donut shops and he met with our members and with people the public all over the place and he promised that he would end hallway medicine I think what people wanted was that people lying on stretchers in hallways and hospitals would be dealt with that the 33,000 people that are waiting years for access to nursing homes would be dealt with I don't think anybody voted for the privatization of our public and nonprofit health services or for a major round of restructuring and we've seen this before I mean bigger is not better it has not helped our hospitals we have more vice presidents now and less hospital beds than any province in in the country you know we have lost dozens of local health services local hospitals and what about risk same thing I mean if you transfer services if you create mega-mergers all of the workers over here have to get laid off be paid severance so on and so forth they need to be transferred to a new place there's shortages of all kinds of categories of health care workers so the new entity tries to hire them up it's massive displacement and this is very like the hairs here are restructuring only then it covered just local hospitals now it's all hospitals long-term care home care the the the entire health system for us we're deeply concerned it will take billions of dollars away from care for restructuring instead of actually what the government promised which was to improve access to care right one of the things that is apparently working in Ontario is cancer care and that system is she talked about our sort of a a renowned cancer care system as one of the things that is working but let's listen to what the minister actually had to say on this here's Christine Elliot Cancer Care Ontario has built some of the best disease management programs for cancer and renal indications in the world imagine if we could replicate those achievements to correct the inequities that have led to the development of such a world-class cancer system so here Natalie is the minister saying things are working in cancer care let's replicate that to other you know use of need can that not be done in this system she is proposing of teams and community care working together well the minister is using the language of teams but what is actually laid out in the draft legislation and in all the documents following that for for the Ministry of Health is that they're going to take proposals from companies they could be for-profit companies that would be able to merge makeover lead to the closure of a variety of healthcare services that is not what Cancer Care Ontario does it has never been what Cancer Care Ontario does I think that's incredibly misleading we do have a stellar cancer treatment system and I think the minister is trying to you know engage in some public messaging to cover really what this bill is done you know we raise your voices here waiting for that legislation we're waiting for the legislation but I think we know very clearly what's in it already and and I think what we're going to have to do is really now fight against the privatization of our healthcare system all right can I make this proposal that we go through that legislation when it comes out not as draft form because again you know things could change from draft even in your when you send an email you change a draft why don't we chat about this again because I think it would benefit our viewers to know exactly what's in that legislation and then what the ramifications could be because right now we're speculating wouldn't you agree yeah we're we're speculating based on I think some pretty good information to be fair you know we have the draft legislation we have subsequent documents that run up until last month from the Ministry of Health and long-term care internal documents about how it's going to work so we have a fair amount of information you know to make predictions about what's going to happen but yes I would love to talk with you more about it the legislation will be introduced at 1:00 p.m. today all right I appreciate your time now thank you and your patience Nathalie mara is the executive director of the Ontario Health coalition and she's right here in studio