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LHIN marks milestone

North East Local Health Integration Network News Release ******************** The North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) today celebrated a critical milestone.
North East Local Health Integration Network
News Release


The North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) today celebrated a critical milestone. Effective April 1, LHINs all across Ontario will assume their full responsibilities of planning, funding and integrating local health services.

First announced by the government in 2004, LHINs will be responsible for allocating funds to improve health services, reduce wait times and ensure better coordination between health providers.

NE LHIN Board Chair, Mathilde Gravelle Bazinet confirmed that her organization is eager to get to work. “Over the past two years, the NE LHIN has met with more than 2,500 local citizens and health care providers to gain a better understanding of how we can facilitate an improved health care system within Northeastern Ontario. We’ve done our homework and we are ready to meet this challenge.” Bazinet further noted that the commitment and participation from all citizens within the region will be pivotal to the NE LHIN’s success. “All Northerners have a stake in an improved health care system. We urge everyone -- residents, patients, health care providers and stakeholders -- to get involved and help turn the dream of a top-notch health care system into a reality.”

LHINs will oversee two-thirds of Ontario’s health care budget – nearly $20 billion a year and, working closely with citizens and health care partners, will determine the health care priorities and services required in their local communities. The NE LHIN, whose region encompasses an area of more than 400,000 square kilometres, will be responsible to coordinate services between more than 200 health care service providers.

“Our government is standing by its commitment to build a health care system around the needs of our communities and local patients,” said Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman. “LHINs will make it easier for patients to access the different health services they need and to find their way through a complex health system. LHINs will break down the barriers that patients face and ensure that local health care decisions are made with patients’ needs in mind.”

LHINs will fund and coordinate services between hospitals, long-term care homes, Community Care Access Centres (CCACs), community support service agencies, mental health and addiction agencies, divested psychiatric hospitals and Community Health Centres (CHCs). The ministry retains responsibility for overall planning of the health system and a number of provincial programs including health human resources and public health.

Building on the strengths of local health organizations, LHINs allow for better matching of health care resources to community needs. CEO Remy Beaudoin says bringing people together to discuss common issues is a fundamental part of the LHIN mandate. “The NE LHIN is not a panacea that will resolve all of the North East’s health care issues overnight”, said Beaudoin. “Our job is to bring people together, to leverage the region’s existing health care resources, and to discuss and implement health care solutions that will work.”

Patients in Northeastern Ontario can expect to see a real improvement in health care. Specifically patients should:

Benefit from different health providers working together to care for them;
Experience fewer delays and disruptions, and shorter wait times in their health care services;
Receive earlier and more appropriate care from the health professionals that are best suited to provide that care;
Receive better information about health services in their community, and have the ability to compare their wait times with other LHINs;
Experience a health system that works better because there is less waste and duplication.
“LHINs are changing the way our health care system is managed,” said Smitherman. “They will, for the first time, engage local residents in the planning and delivering of health care, to create even better access to quality care and reduce wait times.”

The NE LHIN is headquartered in North Bay with Board members located across North East Ontario. Board members and staff work closely with health service providers, including hospitals, community care access centres (CCACs), long term care facilities, consumers and their families to identify best practices in health care delivery and to integrate these practices into a model that works for the people of Northeastern Ontario.