Residents in Ottawa’s east end will be able to access specialized health-care services and programs in either English or French at a facility located closer to home starting in summer 2021, Montfort Hospital and Ontario government officials announced on Tuesday.
At an event to mark the groundbreaking of the new Orléans Health Hub, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced the province will invest up to $75 million in the facility, which she described as “the first of its kind” in Ontario.
Three Ottawa hospitals and four other local health-care service providers have partnered on the new health hub in hopes of better co-ordinating patient care for east-end residents of all ages. The Orléans Health Hub will bring “a wide range of specialized and community health-care services in both official languages under the same roof,” according to Dr. Bernard Leduc, president and CEO of Montfort Hospital.
Plans for the one-storey, 96,000-square-foot facility have been about a decade in the making. Under the previous Liberal government, the province provided funding for project planning.
“It has been a long journey,” Leduc said. “Our dreams for the Orléans Health Hub have evolved a lot over the years. Indeed, it takes time to create something new and different, especially if you want to do well.”
Construction for the new facility is expected to wrap up in the spring of 2021 before opening to clients and patients sometime that summer.
EllisDon signed a fixed-price contract worth $59.7 million with Infrastructure Ontario earlier this month to build and finance the new facility, located at the northeast corner of Mer-Bleue Road and Brian Coburn Boulevard in Orléans.
The hub’s partner organizations are Bruyère Continuing Care, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Montfort Hospital, the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre, Geriatric Psychiatry Community Services of Ottawa and the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa.
At the health hub, patients will be able to access some services that are traditionally only offered in hospitals, according to Montfort Hospital. The hub’s specialized services will include rehabilitation; diagnostic imaging; mental health counselling, assessments and treatments; clinics for dermatology, pediatrics, orthopedics and wound management; and geriatric supports and programs, according to hospital and government officials.
“It’s been suggested to me that this can be a prototype for other parts of Ontario, and I certainly agree,” Elliott said on Tuesday.
The health minister said the province’s funding announcement for the new hub is part of the Progressive Conservative government’s “commitment to invest $27 billion over next 10 years to build new and expanded hospital infrastructure.”
“Investing into new integrated models of care that are supported by their infrastructure is part of our broader plans to build a connected and sustainable public health-care system centred around the needs of patients,” Elliott said. “The Orléans Health Hub is another example of how we are moving forward to end hallway health care.”
The funding announcement comes a day after Ontario Premier Doug Ford confirmed the province will move forward with municipal funding cuts to public health and child care, which sparked controversy when they were first announced in the spring.
The Progressive Conservatives tried to force retroactive funding cuts on communities earlier this year but had to cancel them in May after municipal leaders complained their annual budgets had already passed.
The provincial government’s new plan, which Ford said on Monday will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, will see all municipalities — including Toronto — pay 30 per cent of public health-care costs.
Right now, the Ontario government and the City of Ottawa split public health funding 75-25 per cent, respectively.
— With files from the Canadian Press