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Integration issues

New funding for eHealth at South West LHIN

LONDON, Ont. – The South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Board of Directors has approved nearly $2.5 million in new funding allocations to address local healthcare priorities, with an additional $4.5 million in annual ongoing funding to begin in the 2008/09 fiscal year.

“The South West LHIN and its providers and partners have been working to make improvements in the healthcare system within our existing financial resources. This new funding gives us an opportunity to address some of the priorities that are not being considered through other funding streams, and that will ultimately drive the changes that improve the day-to-day healthcare experiences of the people living in our communities,” says Board Chair Norm Gamble.

The LHIN Priorities Fund is a new funding investment in Ontario’s 14 LHINs that allows LHINs to address key local priorities. The South West LHIN has allocated approximately $2.5 million for 13 initiatives this year, with some funding also approved in principle for 2008/09 in order to continue some of the projects.

“The priorities we are funding represent key steps to improving our local healthcare system,” explains Chief Executive Officer Tony Woolgar. “By investing in initiatives such as our electronic health platform, vans to help seniors access services, and processes that have been shown to improve patient safety, we are able to help health service providers advance the important work they are undertaking to the next level.”

Funding allocations for the South West LHIN’s 2007/08 LHIN Priorities Fund include:

• $585,000 to continue to build e-Health capacity across the LHIN by connecting hospitals in the north part of the LHIN to hospitals in the south. e-Health initiatives work to improve patient safety and bring care closer to home by providing more complete patient information, connecting specialists across the geography of the LHIN, and improving the referral and information process.

• $430,000 to coordinate “order sets” in hospitals in the South West LHIN. Order sets improve patient safety and quality of care by laying out patient care instructions on a specific ailment from assessment to discharge. Additional funds have been approved in principle for this project in 2008/09.

• $20,000 to develop a web-based performance tool that will ultimately support all health service providers. This project is a shared cost between Ontario’s 14 LHINs designed to ensure a common tool for both the LHINs and healthcare providers, particularly smaller organizations without dedicated staff for operational performance initiatives. Additional funds have been approved in principle for this project in 2008/09.

• $15,000 to complete an assessment of information technology resources in the community and mental health and addictions sectors in support of a longer-term information technology investment strategy.

• $200,000 to launch a health services “blueprint” project that provides the framework to address the South West LHIN’s strategic priority of ensuring every patient in the LHIN has access to the “right service at the right time, in the right place, delivered by the right provider.” Additional funds have been approved in principle for this project in 2008/09.

• $120,000 to advance the work of the LHIN’s Hips & Knees Priority Action Team, including the development of a standardized referral process and central registry for hip and knee joint replacements. Osteoarthritis is increasing in prevalence in our aging population and it has been identified that people in the South West LHIN are waiting too long for joint replacement surgery. Additional funds have been approved in principle for this project in 2008/09.

• $100,000 for education sessions for physicians on mental illness. Physicians are often the primary source of care for individuals with depression, which is Canada’s fastest rising diagnosis. These sessions will help physicians enhance their understanding and treatment of mental illness. Additional funds have been approved in principle for this project in 2008/09.

• $65,500 to identify reliable estimates of stroke patients who access public rehabilitation services. A standardized assessment and triage tool will be tested to understand the wide variations in how stroke rehabilitation practices are applied in the South West LHIN.

• $50,000 to provide smaller long-term care homes with the tools to help them better manage their financial and operational performance. A strong and stable long-term care home system is critical to the overall functioning of the healthcare system. Additional funds have been approved in principle for this project in 2008/09.

• $35,200 to help community support services agencies develop a performance measurement framework. This project will provide the framework and tools to help agencies measure their performance, enabling them to make changes to better meet the needs of their clients. Additional funds have been approved in principle for this project in 2008/09.

• $25,000 to develop a tool kit to help healthcare providers help their patients better manage chronic diseases. It is widely understood that in the management of many chronic diseases, it is the patient’s day-to-day decisions and health behaviors that impact how well their chronic diseases are controlled. Additional funds have been approved in principle for this project in 2008/09.

• $25,000 towards staffing to help build relationships with Aboriginal communities. Funds to continue an Aboriginal relations role in 2008/09 have been approved in principle.

• $800,000 to purchase or replace transportation vans for community support service agencies that offer van transit, including van transportation for adult day programs. Better access to transportation, for seniors in particular, improves access to medical and community services and helps seniors remain in their homes.

The South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is a crown agency responsible for planning, integrating and funding more than 150 health service providers, including hospitals, long-term care homes, mental health and addictions agencies, community support services, community health centres, and the South West CCAC. Established under the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006, as one of 14 LHINs across Ontario, the South West LHIN operates an annual healthcare budget of $1.8 billion. The South West LHIN covers an area from Lake Erie to the Bruce Peninsula and is home to almost one million people.

 

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