Local Health Integration Networks Assume New Responsibilities To Help Increase Access To Care And Reduce Wait Times

    Networks Give Ontarians Greater Say In Local Health Care Decisions

    TORONTO, March 29 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is making it easier for
patients to access local health care through Local Health Integration Networks
(LHINs) which officially take on their role for planning and co-ordinating
services on April 1, Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman
announced today.
    "LHINs will help patients find their way through a complex health system
and increase access to quality care," said Smitherman. "By working closely
with local health service providers, LHINs will help patients access care with
fewer delays and more efficiently."
    LHINs were created by the Ontario government to oversee two-thirds of the
province's health care budget, and will work closely with residents and health
care partners to determine the health care priorities and services required in
their local communities. As of April 1, the 14 LHINs in Ontario will
officially take on co-ordinating and funding responsibilities.
    LHINs will plan, fund and coordinate services offered by 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 will retain
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.
    "We're involving Ontarians in the planning and delivery of health care,"
added Smitherman. "Important health care decisions will now be made at the
local level by those who best understand the unique needs of area residents."
    Ontario patients can expect to see a real improvement in health care.
Specifically, patients 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, safer care from the health professionals that are
        best suited to provide that care;
    -   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.

    Today's initiative is part of the McGuinty government's plan for
innovation in public health care, building a system that delivers on three
priorities - keeping Ontarians healthy, reducing wait times and providing
better access to doctors and nurses.

    This news release, along with other media materials, such as matte
stories and audio clips, on other subjects, are available on our website at:
http://www.health.gov.on.ca under the News Media section.
    For more information on achievements in health care, visit:

    Disponible en français.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: David Spencer, Minister's
Office, (416) 327-4320; A.G Klei, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416)
314-6197; Members of the general public: 1-866-532-3161

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Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

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