New Muskoka & Area Ontario Health Team

December 6, 2019

The Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team is one of the first 24 teams in the province to implement a new model of organizing and delivering health care.

BRACEBRIDGE — Ontario is delivering on its commitment to end hallway health care and build a connected and sustainable health care system centred around the needs of patients. The province is introducing Ontario Health Teams, a new model of care that brings together health care providers to work as one team.

Today, Norman Miller, MPP for Parry Sound – Muskoka, was at the Muskoka Paramedics Services Head Office, on behalf of Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, to announce the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team as one of the first 24 teams in the province to implement a new model of organizing and delivering health care that better connects patients and providers in their communities to improve patient outcomes. Through an Ontario Health Team, patients will experience easier transitions from one provider to another, including, for example, between hospitals and home care providers, with one patient story, one patient record and one care plan.

“This is an exciting time for health care in Ontario as we finally break down the long-standing barriers that have prevented care providers from working directly with each other to support patients throughout their health care journey,” said Elliott. “Together with our health care partners, the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team will play an essential role in delivering on our commitment to end hallway health care and building a connected and sustainable public health care system centred around the needs of patients.”

By integrating and organizing to deliver services locally under a collaborative partnership model, the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team has a vision to build a health care system that is uniquely Muskoka. Coordinated locally and anchored in primary care and community engagement, the team brings together a full spectrum of providers across primary care, hospital, home and community care and social services.

“With our new Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team, patients will benefit from better integrated health care, with a seamless experience when moving between different health care services, providers and settings,” said Elliott. “I would like to thank all the health care providers and organizations that helped plan the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team; there is lots of work to be done, but with their dedication and hard work, we will continue to improve health care in our communities and ensure Ontarians get the care they deserve.”

Through integration and collaboration, the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team will endeavour to share accountability, leverage innovation, embrace technology and relentlessly strive to be better. Working together as partners, the team will build a quality-focused, equity-driven, outcomes-based, sustainable, health care system that will improve the well-being of all. This work will be implemented in phases and over time will provide care for everyone within the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team’s population. For Year One, the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team will focus on adults over 65 who are experiencing transitions in the health care system and are receiving care from two or more providers.

The Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team will begin implementing some of their proposed programs and services in 2020 and will continue communicate with patients and families about the changes and improvements they can expect in their community.

“The shared purpose and commitment that has moved us to this point of readiness is what makes Muskoka and Area great. We have already gained game changing insights simply by sharing our ‘stories’ and ideas of what caring for a community could and should look like. Working together in Muskoka and Area has always been our strength,” said Dr. David Mathies, Family Physician and Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team Steering Committee Chair.

“The Canadian Mental Health Association, Muskoka-Parry Sound Branch is excited about this announcement and we hope for improved transitions for our clients through integrated mental health and addiction services,” said Diane Brown-Demarco, CEO of Canadian Mental Health Association Muskoka-Parry Sound.

“All of Muskoka and Area will see the benefits in a coordinated and integrated health care delivery model. We have all been making a great deal of effort to come to this point and have earned the support of primary care clinicians for this model, and I am looking forward to what will be coming next, for all of us,” said Dr. Keith Cross, Family Physician, Cottage Country Family Health Team.

“I understand the importance of families having an advocate and committed caregiver for their loved one. My father-in-law was recently receiving crisis home care, in our home, as arrangements for a placement in long-term care were being determined. I was able to experience at close range, the expertise, dedication and compassionate support of health care providers, and also recognized gaps in the system. I am very excited to be a part of such an essential initiative that is focused on delivering high quality, coordinated and integrated health care,” said Irene Wright, Patient Family Caregiver Partner.

“Being an active, driven and empowered patient/family/caregiver advocate is my passion. I have extensive lived experience through my personal on-going health system journey and most recently as a caregiver for my elderly parents. I’m a patient partner with Canadian Donation Transplant Research Program and Health Standards Organization and have also advised as a patient for Health Quality Ontario and Clinical Trials Ontario. Being a part of the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team gives me a chance to provide a patient’s voice to the development and design of integrated care,” said Sandra Holdsworth, Patient Family Caregiver Partner.

“Muskoka and area’s acute care, primary care providers, mental health and community and social services sector have a long history of working together and this approval recognizes that strength in our community. Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare is committed to this initiative as we believe it will foster more integrated and seamless care, and ultimately, healthier communities,” said Natalie Bubela, President & CEO of Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare.

Ontario has a comprehensive plan to end hallway health care, which includes making investments and advancing new initiatives across four pillars:

  1. Prevention and health promotion: keeping patients as healthy as possible in their communities and out of hospitals.
  2. Providing the right care in the right place: when patients need care, ensure that they receive it in the most appropriate setting, not always the hospital.
  3. Integration and improved patient flow: better integrate care providers to ensure patients spend less time waiting in hospitals when they are ready to be discharged. Ontario Health Teams will play a critical role in connecting care providers and, in doing so, helping to end hallway health care.
  4. Building capacity: build new hospital and long-term care beds while increasing communitybased services across Ontario.

Quick Facts

  • An Ontario Health Team will be responsible for delivering care for their patients, understanding their health care history, directly connecting them to the different types of care they need, and providing 24/7 help in navigating the health care system.
  • Ontarians can be confident that they can continue to contact their health care providers as they always have to access the health care they need.
  • The first wave of Ontario Health Teams is being approved after an extensive readiness assessment process, which involved significant time, collaboration, research and effort from partners across the health care sector.
  • The government will continue working with its partners to review their applications to become an Ontario Health Team.