By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – Health care providers in Stormont, Glengarry, Cornwall, and Akwesasne will be working together to improve care for patients with complex conditions.
Glengarry-Prescott-Russell Liberal MPP Grant Crack was on hand at the Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) Friday to announce the launch of a new local initiative, called the Stormont, Glengarry, Cornwall & Akwesasne Health Link Area.
The collaboration between CCH, various health care providers, and the province will unite dozens of agencies to develop new and better ways of coordinating services.
“Community Health Links are a new way to deliver health care to high-needs patients and individuals, many of them seniors with multiple complex conditions,” said Crack.
He noted that statistics show complex patients make up only 5 per cent of Ontario’s population, but use two-thirds of the health care budget.
“This ensures that individuals don’t fall through the cracks and they are receiving the most appropriate care to improve their outcome,” said Crack. “It’s about better integrating the system so it’s more responsive to patient needs and their experience.”
Chantale LeClerc, CEO of Champlain LHIN, said there are roughly 3,000 people (3.3 per cent of the population) who consume over 40 per cent of the health care services in the Stormont, Glengarry, Cornwall and Akwesasne Health Link Area.
“It’s because not only do they have complex conditions, but our health system is not always well-organized to look after someone like that,” said LeClerc.
Queen’s Park announced the Health Link model of care in December 2012, and tasked the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) with its implementation.
According to CCH, the Health Link services will help patients with conditions best managed elsewhere through individual care plans and coordinated support from a tightly-knit team of providers, which could include doctors, nurses, specialists, hospitals, home care, long-term care, and community agencies.
“We have had the benefit of the collective wisdom of over 25 agencies as we planned our local Health Link,” said Jeanette Despatie, CCH chief executive officer.
“We are currently at the final stage in terms of approval from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, we will be presenting our business plan as a group of community providers soon,” said Despatie.
LeClerc said it takes a couple of months to go through the process, but the local Health Link team can start identifying some of the people in the area they want to work with.
“This is the one of the advantages of the Ontario Health Link model,” said Despatie. “Each community is encouraged to develop a model that fits the population served. This approach to care is a total re-think of the system – it is truly patient-centered.”
There are 69 community Health Links in Ontario and more are being planned.
Participating Stakeholders: Cornwall Community Hospital – Community Addiction and Mental Health Programs, Seaway Valley Community Health Centre, Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie, Glengarry Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, Kanonhkwa’tshero:io Aboriginal Health Access Centre, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Alexandria and Region Family Health Group, Cornwall Physicians FHG, Alexandria and Region Family Health Organization, St. Lawrence FHO, Champlain Community Care Access Centre, Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital, St Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre, Canadian Mental Health Association – Champlain East, Tri-County Mental Health Services, Community Withdrawal Management Services, St. Joseph’s Villa, Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge, Heartwood LTC, Maxville Manor, Community Nursing Home, Parisien Manor Nursing Home, Sandfield Place, Woodland Villa, Tsiikwanonhso-te – Akwesasne Nursing Home, Community Support Coalition – Eastern Counties, Carefor Health & Community Services – Eastern Counties (incl. North Stormont Support Centre; South Stormont Support Centre; Rendez Vous Seniors Support Centre, Alexandria; Char Lan Community Centre, Lancaster; and Cornwall Hospice), Société Alzheimer Society – Cornwall & District, Glengarry Interagency Group, Canadian Red Cross Society, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Cornwall & SDG Emergency Medical Services, City of Cornwall & SDG, Social & Housing Services, Regional Geriatric Program of Eastern Ontario, Réseau des services de santé en français de l’Est de l’Ontario, Community Pharmacy, Ontario Retirement Community Association.