Introducing The People’s Health Care Act, 2019
The Legal Brief is a series featuring Patricia North, chief legal officer for Women’s College Hospital. Patricia has extensive expertise in the healthcare sector and handles all types of hospital legal and policy issues. Stay tuned to Connect for future Legal Brief articles on a variety of topics.
On April 18, 2019, the provincial government passed Bill 74, The People’s Health Care Act, 2019which aims to create an integrated public healthcare system centred on patients, families and caregivers. The Act introduces some significant structural reforms for Ontario hospitals and health service providers with the goal of creating a simpler and more efficient system that focuses on strengthening and connecting local healthcare services.
The new legislation enacts the Connecting Care Act, 2019, which introduces a province-wide super agency called Ontario Health (the “Agency”) and authorizes the creation of integrated care delivery systems (ICDS).
Combining the 14 existing Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and six provincial health agencies (including Cancer Care Ontario, eHealth Ontario, Trillium Gift of Life Network, Health Shared Services Ontario, Health Quality Ontario and HealthForce Ontario Marketing and Recruitment Agency), the Agency will provide for a single point of accountability and oversight for Ontario’s healthcare system and will be responsible for supporting health services integration across the province.
Under the Act, ICDS models known as “Ontario Health Teams” are being introduced as new ways of organizing and delivering health care services in local communities. Made up of providers and organizations including hospitals, doctors and home and community care providers, Ontario Health Teams will be clinically and fiscally accountable for delivering a full and coordinated continuum of care to a defined geographic population. Key components of the Ontario Health Team model include virtual care and other digital health processes that will allow for greater connectivity between patients, families and the services required.
To qualify as an Ontario Health Team and receive funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, health service providers must demonstrate that they can deliver at least three of the following prescribed services:
- hospital services
- primary care services
- mental health or addictions services
- home care or community services
- long-term care home services
- palliative care services
- any other prescribed healthcare service or non-health service that supports the provision of healthcare services
This new legislation empowers hospitals like Women’s College Hospital to take a leadership role in advancing healthcare system integration and adopting creative and cost-effective ways of helping patients and their families gain access to comprehensive local healthcare services.