Algoma OHT submits full application

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The proposed Algoma Ontario Health Team is that much closer to sporting full status.

On Wednesday, a group of Algoma-based health-care providers submitted a full application to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care proposing to become an OHT. The province will evaluate all bids, and a shortlist of applicants will be selected for in-person visits to peg those “most ready” to begin implementation of the OHT model.

Partners involved in the Algoma OHT application have identified patient groups that would benefit from improved co-ordination of care, the proposed team says. The group says it will concentrate its initial efforts to improve co-ordination on “frail seniors and patients with health conditions who present to the emergency department that would be better served in the community.”

“When fully implemented, the team will broaden its work to ensure improved coordination of care for all patients, including mental health & addictions and rural health,” a release said.

Algoma Ontario Health Team officials did not get back to Sault Star by deadline Thursday.

In mid-August, more than 30 submissions, including one from Algoma Health Team, were “invited to full application,” while more than 40 other bids remain “in development.”

Algoma’s mid-May application apparently needed few tweaks, North East Local Health Integration Network said earlier. The regional team, picked by the province to submit a “comprehensive” full application, was only asked to continue to “engage” regional Indigenous and francophone populations.

“Which we will continue to do … So, that’s pretty much it,” Jenn Osesky, NE LHIN director of planning and integration, told The Sault Star earlier.

The Ontario Health Team model is part of sweeping changes to health care, which include the province consolidating 14 local health integration networks, Cancer Care Ontario, eHealth Ontario and several other agencies, into a new organization called Ontario Health.

In mid-May, a “self-assessment” was submitted to the province by Sault Area Hospital, Algoma District Medical Group, Algoma Family Services, Algoma Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, Algoma Public Health, Algoma Residential Community Hospice, Autumnwood Group Inc., Group Health Centre and NE LHIN Home and Community Care. A host of other organizations provided letters of support and commitment to continue to work together to improve regional health care.

The province says the plan will provide a “new way” of organizing and delivering services. Under such a model, health-care providers, including hospitals, doctors and home and community-care providers, operate as “one co-ordinated team, no matter where they provide care.”

By 2020, between 30 and 50 Ontario Health Teams are expected to operate.

In early April, the ministry launched the first call for “self-assessments,” the first step toward establishing Ontario Health Teams.

On Twitter: @JeffreyOugler