The provincial government was elected with a mandate to radically change many government services, including Health Care. The People’s Health Care Act, 2019, was released 26-Feb-19, identifying high level changes designed to improve health care in the province.

Ontario Health was established as a single provincial agency to oversee health care delivery, improve clinical guidance, and provide support to providers for quality patient care. The following agencies have been rolled up into Ontario Health: Cancer Care Ontario, Health Quality Ontario, eHealth Ontario, Trillium Gift of Life Network, Health Shared Services Ontario, HealthForceOntario Marketing & Recruitment Agency and all 14 Local Integrated Health Networks (LHIN). Ontario Health reports to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long Term Care. 

Ontario Health Teams are being developed to report to Ontario Health and will include services across the continuum of care. To be eligible to become an Ontario Health Team, a group must include at least 3 of the following health care services – Primary Care, Hospital Care, Rehabilitative Care, Home and Community Care, Residential Long-Term Care and Mental Health & Addictions.  

The Timiskaming District is fortunate in that the Temiskaming Health Services Collaborative has been in existence for many years, focusing on the health needs of the area from Temagami to Kirkland Lake. The Collaborative filed a self-assessment report to form the Temiskaming Health Team with the Ontario Government on 15-May-19. Several additional community health service providers joined in the self-assessment process. On 18-Jul-19, the Collaborative was notified that the Temiskaming Health Team achieved “In-Development” status, along with 40 other Health Teams in the province.

A further 31 Health Teams were invited to file “Full Applications”. Nine more Health Teams were classified in a new category entitled “Innovative Models”. That leaves approximately 70 Health Team applicants in the “In-Discovery” category, a category that indicates that a lot more work is required to even enter the Full Application process. 

The Temiskaming Health Team has a total of 25 agencies that have signed on as members; 18 signed on as Formal Partners (ready to go), with a further 6 signed on as Associate Partners (agree with concept but not ready just yet) and 1 signed on as Supporter.  The first planning meeting for the Temiskaming Health Team was held on 12-Sep-19, where Mandy Weeden, Executive Director, Kirkland District Family Health Team and Mike Baker, President & CEO of the Temiskaming Hospital were elected Co-Chairs of the Temiskaming Health Team.

“Being classified as In-Development is exactly where we expected and hoped to be.” stated Mandy Weeden. “It achieves our goal of declaring to the Government that the community members of the Timiskaming District deserve to have their care managed locally and it shows them that we have progressed in providing integrated care.”

“We would like to acknowledge the hard work that the Collaborative has and continues to do, and in particular Megan Wagué of the North East LHIN and Erin Montgomery of the Temiskaming Hospital for their dedication in getting the Temiskaming Health Team Self-Assessment filed on time.” Stated Mike Baker. “We now look forward to establishing our priorities and work plans for providing improved and more seamless care in the district, attracting more partners and becoming eligible to file a “Full Application” at some time in the future.”

The 25 agencies making up the Temiskaming Health Team includes:

Formal Partners – Alzheimer’s Society, CarePartners, Englehart & District Hospital, Englehart & District Family Health Team, Extendicare Inc., Gravity Health & Chiropractic Centre, Great Northern Family Health Team, Haileybury Family Health Team, Home & Community Care, Kirkland & District Hospital, Kirkland & District Family Health Team, North Eastern Ontario Family & Children’s Services, Sages-femmes Temiskaming Midwives, Dr. Steve Sears’ Medical Practice, Temagami Family Health Team, Temiskaming Hospital, Timiskaming Health Unit, Timiskaming Home Support and Timiskaming Hospice Palliative Care.

Associate Partners – Dr. Colleen Davies’ Medical Practice, Dr. Don Davies’ Medical Practice, Tech Pioneer Residence, Temiskaming Lodge, Vital Aire Canada Inc., and Centre de santé communautaire du Temiskaming.

Supporter – Mino M’Shki-ki Indigenous Health Team.