Erie St. Clair LHIN Takes On Increased Responsibility Of Local Health System To Improve Care For Ontarians

    A Milestone for Ontario's Health Care System

    CHATHAM-KENT, ON, March 30 /CNW/ - The Erie St. Clair Local Health
Integration Network (LHIN) will be celebrating a critical milestone. Effective
April 1, LHINs will assume their full responsibilities of planning, funding
and integrating local health services.
    First announced by the government in 2004, LHINs will responsible for
allocating funds to improve health services, reduce wait times and ensure
better coordination between health providers.
    "This is an exciting day for the residents of Erie St. Clair" said David
Wright, Acting Chair of the Erie St. Clair LHIN Board of Directors. "A
Ministry of Health official working in downtown Toronto, no matter how
knowledgeable and dedicated, isn't going to have a feel for the community
needs of Erie St. Clair. Now, with the LHIN working directly with healthcare
providers and residents in our community we can truly have a local healthcare
system" added Wright.
    LHINs will 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 break down the barriers that
patients face and ensure that local health care decisions are made with
patients' needs in mind."
    LHINs will fund and coordinate services between 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.
    Building on the strengths of local health organizations, LHINs allow for
better matching of health care resources to community needs.
    Residents in the Erie St. Clair LHIN can expect to see a real improvement
in health care. Specifically residents will:

    -   Benefit from different health providers working together to care for
    -   Experience fewer delays and disruptions, and shorter wait times in
        their health care services
    -   Receive better information about health services in their community,
        and have the ability to compare their wait times with other LHINs
    -   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."

For further information:

For further information: Shannon Sasseville, Senior Community Engagement
Consultant, (519) 351-5677 ext. 225

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