South West LHIN announces new funding to address local health care priorities

    LONDON, ON, Dec. 20 /CNW/ - The South West Local Health Integration
Network (LHIN) Board of Directors today approved nearly $2.5 million in new
funding allocations to address local health care priorities, with an
additional $4.5 million in annual ongoing funding to begin in the 2008/09
fiscal year.
    "The South West LHIN and its providers and partners have been working to
make improvements in the health care system within our existing financial
resources. This new funding gives us an opportunity to address some of the
priorities that are not being considered through other funding streams, and
that will ultimately drive the changes that improve the day-to-day health care
experiences of the people living in our communities," says Board Chair Norm
    The LHIN Priorities Fund is a new funding investment in Ontario's 14
LHINs that allows LHINs to address key local priorities. The South West LHIN
has allocated approximately $2.5 million for 13 initiatives this year, with
some funding also approved in principle for 2008/09 in order to continue some
of the projects.
    "The priorities we are funding represent key steps to improving our local
health care system," explains Chief Executive Officer Tony Woolgar. "By
investing in initiatives such as our electronic health platform, vans to help
seniors access services, and processes that have been shown to improve patient
safety, we are able to help health service providers advance the important
work they are undertaking to the next level."

    Funding allocations for the South West LHIN's 2007/08 LHIN Priorities Fund

    -   $800,000 to purchase or replace transportation vans for community
        support service agencies that offer van transit, including van
        transportation for adult day programs. Better access to
        transportation, for seniors in particular, improves access to medical
        and community services and helps seniors remain in their homes.

    -   $585,000 to continue to build e-Health capacity across the LHIN by
        connecting hospitals in the north part of the LHIN to hospitals in
        the south. e-Health initiatives work to improve patient safety and
        bring care closer to home by providing more complete patient
        information, connecting specialists across the geography of the LHIN,
        and improving the referral and information process.

    -   $430,000 to coordinate "order sets" in hospitals in the South West
        LHIN. Order sets improve patient safety and quality of care by laying
        out patient care instructions on a specific ailment from assessment
        to discharge. Additional funds have been approved in principle for
        this project in 2008/09.

    -   $200,000 to launch a health services "blueprint" project that
        provides the framework to address the South West LHIN's strategic
        priority of ensuring every patient in the LHIN has access to the
        "right service at the right time, in the right place, delivered by
        the right provider." Additional funds have been approved in principle
        for this project in 2008/09.

    -   $120,000 to advance the work of the LHIN's Hips & Knees Priority
        Action Team, including the development of a standardized referral
        process and central registry for hip and knee joint replacements.
        Osteoarthritis is increasing in prevalence in our aging population
        and it has been identified that people in the South West LHIN are
        waiting too long for joint replacement surgery. Additional funds have
        been approved in principle for this project in 2008/09.

    -   $100,000 for education sessions for physicians on mental illness.
        Physicians are often the primary source of care for individuals with
        depression, which is Canada's fastest rising diagnosis. These
        sessions will help physicians enhance their understanding and
        treatment of mental illness. Additional funds have been approved in
        principle for this project in 2008/09.

    -   $65,500 to identify reliable estimates of stroke patients who access
        public rehabilitation services. A standardized assessment and triage
        tool will be tested to understand the wide variations in how stroke
        rehabilitation practices are applied in the South West LHIN.

    -   $50,000 to provide smaller long-term care homes with the tools to
        help them better manage their financial and operational performance.
        A strong and stable long-term care home system is critical to the
        overall functioning of the health care system. Additional funds have
        been approved in principle for this project in 2008/09.

    -   $35,200 to help community support services agencies develop a
        performance measurement framework. This project will provide the
        framework and tools to help agencies measure their performance,
        enabling them to make changes to better meet the needs of their
        clients. Additional funds have been approved in principle for this
        project in 2008/09.

    -   $25,000 to develop a tool kit to help health care providers help
        their patients better manage chronic diseases. It is widely
        understood that in the management of many chronic diseases, it is the
        patient's day-to-day decisions and health behaviors that impact how
        well their chronic diseases are controlled. Additional funds have
        been approved in principle for this project in 2008/09.

    -   $25,000 towards staffing to help build relationships with Aboriginal
        communities. Funds to continue an Aboriginal relations role in
        2008/09 have been approved in principle.

    -   $20,000 to develop a web-based performance tool that will ultimately
        support all health service providers. This project is a shared cost
        between Ontario's 14 LHINs designed to ensure a common tool for both
        the LHINs and health care providers, particularly smaller
        organizations without dedicated staff for operational performance
        initiatives. Additional funds have been approved in principle for
        this project in 2008/09.

    -   $15,000 to complete an assessment of information technology resources
        in the community and mental health and addictions sectors in support
        of a longer-term information technology investment strategy.

    The South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is a crown agency
responsible for planning, integrating and funding more than 150 health service
providers, including hospitals, long-term care homes, mental health and
addictions agencies, community support services, community health centres, and
the South West CCAC. Established under the Local Health System Integration
Act, 2006, as one of 14 LHINs across Ontario, the South West LHIN operates an
annual health care budget of $1.8 billion. The South West LHIN covers an area
from Lake Erie to the Bruce Peninsula and is home to almost one million

For further information:

For further information: Annabelle Mackey, (519) 672-0445, ext. 225,
1-866-294-5446,; Tommasina Conte, (519) 672-0445,
ext. 208, 1-866-294-5446

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South West Local Health Integration Network

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