Couchiching Ontario Health Team to offer integrated care, meet community needs: province

On Friday, on behalf of Ontario's health minister Christine Elliott, attorney general Doug Downey and Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop announced the formation of the Couchiching Ontario Health Team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

On Friday, the province of Ontario announced the development of the Couchiching Ontario Health Team, one of the first of 24 that will implement a new, integrated model of care.

“This is an exciting time for health care in Ontario as we finally break down the long-standing barriers that have prevented care providers from working directly with each other to support patients throughout their health care journey,” Christine Elliott, the province’s health minister and deputy premier, said in a statement.
“Together with our health care partners, the Couchiching Ontario Health Team will play an essential role in delivering on our commitment to end hallway health care and building a connected and sustainable public health care system centred around the needs of patients.”

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The Couchiching Ontario Health Team will aim to meet the needs of the local community, with a focus on seniors who have complex health care needs.
It will organize and deliver care with the support of more than 20 community agencies and health care providers, including hospitals, doctors and home and community care providers.

READ MORE: Province announces the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team

“With our new Couchiching Ontario Health Team, patients will benefit from better integrated health care, with a seamless experience when moving between different health care services, providers and settings,” Elliot said in a statement.
The work of the new local health team will be implemented in phases over time and will incorporate around-the-clock navigation and care coordination services for patients and families.
“The spirit of collaboration is not new to those in local health care,” Kim McIntosh, the clinical lead of the Couchiching Ontario Health Team and the medical director of the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, said in a statement.
“Couchiching has a strong history of multidisciplinary and multi-sector partnerships that will continue to serve as our foundation for care coordination and patient centred care. We will co-design our system with patients and families to ensure that goal is met.”
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The Couchiching Ontario Health Team will begin implementing some of its proposed programs and services next year.
The Ontario Health Teams will be responsible for delivering care to their patients, understanding their health care history, directly connecting them to the different types of care they need and providing around-the-clock help in navigating the system.
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