LHIN Touch with Kim Baker

The View from Central LHIN

If you’ve visited the Central LHIN, you know that one of our meeting rooms has a great view of the runway at Toronto Buttonville Airport.  When the weather is clear, it’s an impressive sight. These days we appreciate it a little more, knowing that this small municipal airport will eventually disappear to make room for new development.

As we collaborate, plan and brainstorm, we’re often inspired by the grace and beauty of the aircraft as they navigate the runway and soar to places that are unknown – at least, to us.

Taking flight is a perfect theme for 2016.  A change in direction has been signaled to us on many fronts – from our patients and our caregivers as we developed the 2016-2019 Integrated Health Service Plan, and in the December 2015 recommendations from the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario.  Most recently, an enhanced role for LHINs has been outlined in Patients First – the government’s proposal to strengthen patient-centred health care in our province.

We have many of the tools that we need right now to drive continued change and health system transformation.  We can build on our strengths and success by continuing to listen to the voices of our patients, and by leveraging the expertise and creativity of our Health Service Providers (HSPs), primary care providers and other partners.

Together, we’re better!

How so?  In the past year, we’ve made a meaningful difference by working together with our HSPs and others across the Central LHIN – for example:

  • We created a new community transportation model with lead agencies CHATS and Circle of Care.  iRIDEPlus is an efficient, economical and convenient transportation system that helps seniors across the Central LHIN get safely to medical and other health-related appointments.
  • We worked with Health Service Providers, the Central Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)  and primary care physicians to develop an action plan that makes palliative and end-of-life services more accessible and understandable during one of the most challenging times for patients and caregivers; and
  • We’re developing new solutions to reduce the burden of mental illness and addictions by tapping into the experience of clients and families – and using the lessons learned to tackle this growing problem.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

On February 1, the Central LHIN will release our Integrated Health Service Plan (our strategic directions) to guide us over the next three years.  The plan outlines our shared vision for creating a better patient care experience within our geographic region by focusing on the six key priorities of:  Better Seniors’ Care; Better Palliative Care; Better Care for Kids and Youth; Better Community Care; Better Care for Underserved Communities; and Better Mental Health.  The ideas and inspiration of hundreds of stakeholders helped us to develop this plan.  We look forward to hearing more from you about how we will advance these important priorities.

Patients First

The public consultations that are part of Patients First give us another rich opportunity to hear from our stakeholders.  We’ll welcome your views and ideas for building on our patient-centred health care system in Ontario, and within the Central LHIN.

With such a strong foundation in place, I’m excited by the possibilities of 2016.

I’m gratified because there is a tremendous commitment to succeed among our Health Service Providers. Our Central CCAC, hospitals, long-term care homes, community health centres, community support services, and mental health and addictions agencies do an extraordinary job of caring for people every day.  Their commitment to patient care sets an exemplary example. 

I’m encouraged because I know there is a collective will among our physicians, nurse practitioners and other primary care professionals to do what’s best for patients and families – and to be open to change to improve the system and the health care experience for patients and families.

But most of all I am inspired.  In spite of our challenges, our gaps and the things we strive to do better every day, we have what we need to take flight.  Together, we have the purpose, the passion and the potential to make a significant transformation in our health care system today –with a safe and successful landing for future generations.

I’d encourage you to check our website often for news and updates as we move through the year.  In the meantime, our very best wishes for 2016 from the Central LHIN team.