Island health authorities may apply to form Ontario Health Hub

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MANITOULIN – The Manitoulin Collaborative of Island area health providers is working on the self-assessment process to explore the possibility of becoming an Ontario Health Team (OHT) under the forthcoming remix of 20 provincial healthcare agencies into the Ontario Health superagency.

“Our next step includes a working group session scheduled on August 8, to be held at Noojmowin Teg,” said Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) president and CEO Lynn Foster in an email to The Expositor. “The goal of that session would be to hold discussions that would allow for the Manitoulin group to complete the self-assessment application.”

The Manitoulin Collaborative is a group consisting of healthcare providers around the Island. This includes MHC, Noojmowin Teg Health Centre, Mnaamodzawin Health Services, Wikwemikong Health Centre and M’Chigeeng Health Services.

A first round of self-assessment applications has already closed and agencies invited to continue to submit a formal application have been contacted. A second round of self-assessments closes on December 4.

“This may sound like ample time; however, we will need it to ensure we have fulsome feedback from each of the (Manitoulin) Collaborative partners,” wrote Ms. Foster.

The team will be working on preparing a draft of their organization plans by September, a document that will be sent to all Manitoulin Collaborative partners. They will discuss the merits of the case and send it forward for assessment by the province.

A total of 31 OHT applications out of the 150 that had been submitted in the first round received approval to submit a full application. The province initially stated that it hoped to see between 30 and 50 OHTs which, if those numbers remain the ultimate plan, would leave the remaining 19 spots in high demand.

Manitoulin Collaborative OHT working group participants include MHC manager of clinical innovation and partnerships Melanie Stephens, MHC president of medical staff Dr. Mike Bedard, MHC chief of staff Dr. Stephen Cooper, Noojmowin Teg executive director Pam Williamson, Ms. Foster, Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home administrator Susan Farren, Manitoulin Central Family Health Team executive director Lorie Oswald, the Northeast Local Health Integration Network’s director of planning and integration Nancy Lacasse and Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board (DSB) director of integrated social services Donna Stewart.

The parties in the Manitoulin Collaborative jointly agreed that they wished to pursue securing an OHT for the Island and have been in preliminary talks on this topic for several weeks. The date when the provincial government will decide whether or not the collaborative will be invited to make a full application has not yet been announced.