Ford government to form super agency called 'Ontario Health'

Feb 26 2019, 2:00 pm

The Ford government is introducing legislation that will transform health-care in the province.

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Christine Elliott unveiled a plan to consolidate provincial agencies and form one super agency called “Ontario Health.”

Ontario Health would integrate programs like Cancer Care Ontario, Health Quality Ontario, eHealth Ontario, Trillium, Health Shared Services, and 14 local health networks.

“The people of Ontario deserve a connected health care system that puts their needs first,” said Elliott. “At the same time the people of Ontario deserve peace of mind that this system is sustainable and accessible for all patients and their families, regardless of where you live, how much you make, or the kind of care you require.”

According to the province, the new plan “would improve access to services and patient experience.”

In a release, the Ontario government says that integrating multiple provincial agencies and specialized provincial programs into a single agency would provide a central point of accountability and oversight for the health care system.

“If we expect real improvements that patients will experience first-hand, we must better coordinate the public health care system, so it is organized around people’s needs and outcomes. This will enable local teams of health care providers to know and understand each patient’s needs and provide the appropriate, high-quality connected care Ontarians expect and deserve,” said Elliott.

The province says it is investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to establish a comprehensive and connected system for mental health and addictions treatment, and adding 15,000 new long-term care beds over five years and 30,000 beds over 10 years.

As for the savings through the new super agency, that is unclear, as no figures have been released.

“Our government is taking a comprehensive, pragmatic approach to addressing the public health care system,” said Elliott. “By relentlessly focusing on patient experience, and on better connected care, we will reduce wait times and end hallway health care. Ontarians can be confident that there will be a sustainable health care system for them when and where they need it.”

Last month, a leaked draft version of the bill that the NDP revealed showed that Ontario was planning a health “super agency,” and at the time, NDP Ontario’s Andrea Horwath said the Super Agency’s guiding principles is to “partner with public and private sector entities.”

If the new legislation passes, the transformation would take place over a number of years, according to the province.