The health services are working towards being one of the health teams across the province.

Carolyn Plummer, the CEO of the Haliburton Highlands Health Services, says that HHHS and a variety of other health-focused entities have banded together to hopefully form one of Ontario’s Health Teams following the reform of the healthcare system.

According to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, the health teams ” are being introduced to provide a new way of organizing and delivering services in local communities. Under Ontario Health Teams, the health care providers (including hospitals, doctors and home and community care providers) will work as one coordinated team – no matter where they provide care.”

Plummer says that in April, the province introduced the People’s Healthcare Act, and part of that was the creation of these teams as a way to streamline patient care, connected care and overall wait times. She says that the health teams would consist of several aspects of health including primary care, secondary care, home care, community support services, mental health and addiction, health promotion and disease prevention rehabilitation and complex care palliative care residential care and short-term transitional care, emergency health services, laboratory and diagnostic services midwifery services, and other social and community services and other services, as needed by the population.

The CEO explained to the county council that HHHS and other agencies have gone ahead with the self-assessment portion of applying to become a health team. the second of five steps to becoming an Ontario Health Team. Plummer said that the decision to try and create a Haliburton Highlands Ontario Health Team was a multi-faceted one. She explained that part of it came down to the fact that the health team idea fits well with HHHS’ strategic plan to advance partnerships in the community.

Another factor according to Plummer is the fear that they would get lumped in with other teams and create a disconnect between local needs and the goals of the health team.

Despite the fact that council was supportive of wanting to create a “made in Haliburton” team, there was some concern over the idea that today’s council meeting was the first time they had heard about this team being created. Several councillors noted a need for better communication with the county, especially given the fact the county was listed as an affiliate of the proposed team. An affiliate is an agency that could join the health team in the future.

Minden Mayor Brent Devolin pointed out that including the county in these kinds of conversations could be beneficial, saying that they can go to ROMA or AMO to raise questions or concerns for the health team which doesn’t get that kind of face to face interaction with the province.

HHHS and other partners proposing the health team should know in June what happens next, which council asked to be informed of.