South West LHIN assumes funding responsibility for local health care



    Transfer of funding responsibility marks final milestone in the plan to
    transform Ontario's health care system

    LONDON, ON, March 30 /CNW/ - The South West Local Health Integration
Network (LHIN) today announced it is assuming the full range of responsibility
for planning, funding and integrating local health services effective April 1,
2007.
    First announced by the provincial government in 2004, LHINs will fund and
coordinate services among hospitals, long-term care homes, Community Care
Access Centres (CCACs), community support service agencies, mental health and
addiction agencies, divested psychiatric hospitals and Community Health
Centres (CHCs). The Ministry retains responsibility for overall planning of
the health system and a number of provincial programs including health human
resources and public health.
    "The transfer of funding and accountability responsibility to the South
West LHIN is an important milestone for this community," says Norm Gamble,
chair of the South West LHIN Board of Directors. "We now have unprecedented
opportunity to shape and influence how the health care system can be better
integrated and how services to patients can be improved."
    The South West Local Health Integration Network is one of 14 LHINs that
have been established across Ontario as part of an overall strategy to
transform health care. LHINs will now oversee two-thirds of Ontario's health
care budget - nearly $20 billion a year - and, working closely with citizens
and health care partners, will determine the health care priorities and
services required in their local communities.
    "Our government is standing by its commitment to build a health care
system around the needs of our communities and local patients," said Health
and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman. "LHINs will make it easier for
patients to access the different health services they need and to find their
way through a complex health system. LHINs will assist in breaking down
barriers that patients face and ensure that local health care decisions are
made with patients' needs in mind."
    Building on the strengths of local health organizations, LHINs allow for
better matching of health care resources to community needs. Patients in the
South West LHIN can expect to see a real improvement in health care.
Specifically, patients will:

    
    -   Benefit from different health providers working together to care for
        them
    -   Experience shorter wait times in their health care services, and have
        the ability to compare their wait times with other LHINs
    -   Receive health care services that are in the right place, at the
        right time, by the right provider
    -   Receive better information about health care services in their
        community
    -   Experience a health system that works better because there is less
        waste and duplication.
    

    "LHINs are changing the way our health care system is managed," said
Smitherman. "They will, for the first time, engage local residents in the
planning and delivering of health care, to create even better access to
quality care and reduce wait times."

    The South West LHIN covers an area from Lake Erie to the Bruce Peninsula,
and is home to almost one million people. The South West LHIN is responsible
for health care planning, funding, allocation and performance reporting for
its geographic area, with the ultimate goal of ensuring its residents have
access to high quality preventive care, treatment and support.




For further information:

For further information: Tommasina Conte, Tel: (519) 672-0445, ext. 208,
Cell: (519) 636-8125, tommasina.conte@lhins.on.ca

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South West Local Health Integration Network

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