The following are highlights of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Board of Directors meeting held in Ottawa on February 28 and March 28, 2018.
Health Links Approach
The Health Links approach is one of the most significant transformations in our health system today. Launched by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in 2012, Health Links is a direct response to the need to sustain our health system for years to come. It is an initiative the Champlain LHIN Board of Directors has prioritized to improve health services in our region.
Cal Martell, Champlain LHIN Vice-President of Integration, lead a discussion with LHIN Board members on the implementation of the Health Links approach to health care within our region, the experience to date, some of the early results, the challenges, and the plan for the coming year.
“The era of health system sustainability being achieved through doing more with less is no longer enough…our health system must explore and adopt different ways of working together to meet the changing needs of our population,” Mr. Martell said. “With Health Links, we are bringing that idea to life in changing in how we, as health service providers, function with each other, and with our patients.”
Martell added that “one of the most significant transformations needed within our health system is re-balancing of our focus from the episodic treatment of illness to one which recognizes the needs of the growing number of people in our region living with multiple complex chronic conditions.”
The Health Links approach to integrated care is a significant change management initiative that is meant to respond to the problem of fragmented care. Past challenges include a focus on the illness instead of the patient, inadequate patient engagement, lack of clarity of provider roles, the absence of shared accountability, and a low-technology environment.
The program currently targets approximately two per cent of the population that has four or more medical conditions, and that makes frequent use of health care services.
The goals of the Health Links approach is to improve quality of care and the health-care experience. It also aims to free up necessary resources for others in need. Together, patients, families and health-service providers work together to develop one coordinated care plan that focuses on the patient’s goals. A member of the patient’s health team acts as a single point of contact for the patient and family as well as for the many health professionals and providers that make up the team.
“There is more at stake than just Health Links,” explained Board Chair Jean-Pierre Boisclair. “The program needs to be effective so that it can support improved health system planning and integrated service delivery at the sub-regional level, with a drive towards more patient-centred care.”
To date, Health Links in Champlain has shown success. Almost 3,000 clients have been part of Health Links in the first two years. More than 600 of the region’s family physicians and nurse practitioners and 200 staff from 80 organizations have been directly involved in developing a Health Links care plan.
By unanimous resolution, the Board agreed to the following:
- Continue to promote the importance of spreading the Health Links approach through Board-to-Board and senior executive interactions
- Endorse a vision that the Health Links approach will be the standard of care for complex patients by:
- Supporting stable and steady Health Links scaling in the short-term such that the cumulative target of 10,000 patients will be achieved by the end of 2019-20
- Harnessing the leadership of sub-region teams to drive implementation within each sub-region, and
- Modernizing the LHIN’s own care coordination model and resources in home and community care to respond to the changing needs of this high-needs population
- Dedicate LHIN staff resources and funds towards the full implementation of the Health Links approach across the Champlain region, including supplementing Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care funding.
Click here for more information on Health Links.
CEO Report to the Board
Champlain LHIN CEO Chantale LeClerc provided updates to LHIN Board members:
In March 2018, LHIN Board member Guy Freedman, Ms. LeClerc and other LHIN staff members attended an important conference focusing on Indigenous health equity. It was hosted by the Indigenous Health Circle Forum and held at Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa.
At the event, the LHIN-commissioned report Now Now Now: Mental Wellness for Indigenous Youth in the Champlain Region was released. Providers, partners, and members of the public are encouraged to read the report, which recognizes the value of culturally-based services being provided by Indigenous people for Indigenous people. In particular, the report concentrated on youth, with a focus in four areas: artifacts, action, speech, and thought.
Ms. LeClerc said that the guidelines and actions in this report will help transform the current system of care for Indigenous youth living with inter-generational trauma and/or mental health conditions in the region.
In addition, she informed Board members that all LHIN CEOs across the province recently met with Chiefs Committee on Health to discuss how LHINs can engage more with Indigenous communities.
Patient and Family Advisory Committee
Since its creation in the fall of 2017, the Champlain LHIN’s Patient and Family Advisory Committee has been meeting to develop its work plan. Three priority areas for the coming year have been identified:
- Expand the benefits of Health Links to those who need it
- Improve patient transitions between hospital and home
- Improve the patient and caregiver experience with care coordination.
The creation of Patient and Family Advisory Committees across all LHINs is a key commitment in the Patients First Act, with the goal of sharing information across Ontario and helping to shape programs, services and initiatives designed to improve care in each LHIN.
For more information on this important committee, click here.