Arnprior hospital on track to join Ontario Health Team

ARNPRIOR – Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) and its 21 proposed Ontario Health Team partners have been recognized by the Ministry of Health (MOH) as having effective health and social service partnerships and geography to best service the needs of its patient population. MOH has outlined the strengths and areas to improve as the team prepares for the ‘full application’ phase in becoming an Ontario Health Team.

“We are thrilled to get confirmation from the Ministry that we have formed strong partnerships to optimally serve our region,” said Eric Hanna, president and CEO, ARH and Chair of the proposed OHT that includes ARH. “I feel confident the integration between our service providers will take the guess work out of patient transitions and make the experience smoother and more efficient.”

The MOH is undergoing a major transformation of the Ontario healthcare systems by creating dozens of OHTs that will coordinate health and social services for targeted patient populations in an aim to create more connected care.

Through a self-assessment phase, 159 proposed OHTs submitted to become a pilot OHT. Thirty-one teams are currently going through to “full application.” Forty-three teams, including ARH’s submission, are “in development” and require additional enhancements before moving to full application. The remaining 85 teams are “in discovery,” and have been encouraged to expand their partnerships.

ARH is part of a team that voluntarily came together and proposed being responsible for the areas including parts of Western Ottawa, West Carleton, Arnprior, McNab/Braeside, and portions of Lanark County. The partners cover the full continuum of care, including patients, community organizations and councils, hospitals, long-term care, family health teams, homecare, private sector, laboratories, public health, and emergency health services.

“Many of these partnerships started through the Rural Health Hub and have been strengthened by our shared successes in making the local health system easier for patients to navigate and creating improved outcomes,” said Hanna.

ARH received feedback from the MOH outlining that the strengths of the application are that it understands the needs and access patterns of the target population and that it effectively identified and considered the impacts of the social determinants of health in our community. The MOH also identified the following opportunities for enhancement: increase primary care capacity and partnerships, develop a more robust digital health strategy, and use data on demographics, referral patterns and utilization of the target population to finalize composition of the partners.

ARH and its partners have begun on this work. The MOH has also committed to providing resources and tailored support as ARH and its partners enhance their plan and further build partnerships in preparation for the full application phase.

 “The ultimate goal is a more easy-to-navigate local healthcare system for our patients so that they get the most appropriate care, when they need it,” said Hanna. “This is tremendous recognition that we have regional partnerships that can bring the OHT to fruition for our communities and we are excited to get back to the table to further strengthen our plan.”