Upper Grand Family Health Team joins community partners to express interest in forming a Rural Wellington Ontario Health Team

December 31 2019
By Kristin Kathiravelu, Executive Director

The Ontario government is working toward ensuring that the health care system is centred around patients, families and caregivers. Since 2018, a number of changes have been made across the province to make it easier for patients to navigate the system and transition between providers.

As part of this reform, Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) are being introduced to provide a new way of organizing and delivering care that is more connected to patients in their local communities. According to the Ministry of Health, “Under Ontario Health Teams, health care providers (including hospitals, doctors and home and community care providers) work as one coordinated team – no matter where they provide care.”

In fall 2019, 24 Ontario Health Teams were announced. These groups vary in terms of geography, size and membership but are all committed to providing integrated and patient-centred care that improves patient outcomes in their communities.

On December 4 2019, the Upper Grand Family Health Team was part of a collaborative group of community providers across Rural Wellington that submitted a self-assessment that helps the Ministry of Health determine our readiness to submit a full application to become an Ontario Health Team. This assessment asked us to rate our current state of readiness to become an integrated group of providers in a number of domains including digital health, patient partnership, community development, performance measurement, quality improvement and continuous learning. Once our application has been reviewed, we will either be invited to complete a full application or be designated “in development” or “in discovery”, meaning that we’ll need to do some additional work before proceeding to become an Ontario Health Team.

Why would Rural Wellington benefit from establishing a local Health Team as opposed to being grouped in with surrounding larger areas? I believe that Dr. Sarah Gower, Chair of the Rural Wellington Ontario Health Team Steering Committee put it best: “We are not just hospital management, family physicians and Personal Support Workers – we coach each other’s kids, we shop in the same stores and go to the same well baby groups as our colleagues and patients….These relationships make us unique and require ‘locally made’ solutions that reflect our unique personal and professional relationships.”

We look forward to sharing updates on our application status in upcoming posts!

For a full list of the members of the Rural Wellington Ontario Health Team Steering Committee see the attached media release.

For more information about Ontario Health Teams see the Ministry of Health website.

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