“Our goal is to have a full application submitted to the ministry in March,” Sherry Kerr, chair of the local Ontario Health Team submission team, told Brant County councillors this week.
If the application is accepted, Brantford-Brant would be in position to have its own Ontario Health Team following a review and site visit by ministry officials.
The 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. By this year, between 30 and 50 Ontario Health Teams are expected to be operating. In late 2019, the government announced the first cohort of 24 Ontario Health Teams.
Sherry Kerr is chair of the local Ontario Health Team submission team. Kerr is also executive director of Participation Support Services, one of 14 health-care and social service agencies participating in the initiative. The others are: Adult Recreation Therapy Centre, Alzheimer Society of Brant; Haldimand Norfolk, Hamilton, Halton; Brant Community Healthcare System; Brant Long-term Care Network; Canadian Mental Health Association, Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Branch, De dwa da dehs nye-s Aboriginal Health Centre; Family Counselling Centre of Brant; Grand River Community Health Centre, John Noble Day and Stay Program; St. Joseph’s Health System including St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre long-term care home and Stedman Community Hospice, St. Joseph’s Home Care; St. Leonard’s Community Services and Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services.
The initiative is being supported by the City of Brantford, Contact Brant, Lansdowne Children’s Centre and the PrimaCare Community Family Health Team.
Work on the local effort began last May and includes a progress report that was submitted to the ministry in January.
“The essence of putting this team together is to have one group of health-care providers that knows your health history,” Kerr said.
“As a group, we’re aware of the health-care services in our community and we’re going to be able to navigate the system 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure patient referrals get to the right place.
She noted that the new system will allow all health-care providers to share health-care records, including medical test results.
As well, the new approach will provide patients with digital options, including online access to health records and virtual care, Kerr said.
She said the health-care team also can establish priorities for the community and in Brantford-Brant, mental health and addictions, dementia and homelessness.
In addition, the new approach aligns well with local initiatives, including physician recruitment and the community safety and well-being plans, said Kerr.