Ontario Modernizing Delivery of Home and Community Care

On February 25, 2019 Ontario announced plans to  to enable integrated and innovative models of home and community care through the introduction of the Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act. If passed, the Act will allow Ontario Health Teams to deliver new models of home and community care directly, connecting patients to the different types of care they need and helping them 24/7 in navigating the health care system.  The goal is to make it easier for people to access home-based services, to help people connect to their care providers, to provider people with high needs more options to access care and to support people more effectively to be healthier in their homes.

The proposed framework would include;

  • Adaptable care coordination functions that can be embedded in frontline care within Ontario Health Teams, promoting integration between sectors, reducing duplication and ensuring care is more responsive to patient needs.

  • Flexibility in care planning requirements to support more responsive care delivery based on patient outcomes.

  • More flexibility for innovative models of care by supporting care to be provided virtually and removing the emphasis on visit-based care.

  • No service maximums, enabling provision of care to be based on identified needs and resources.

  • An oversight model for residential congregate services, which would support patients with needs too high to be met at home - but do not require the intensive level of care provided by a hospital or long-term care home.

At the same time as enabling new innovations and flexibility, the Act would continue to enable services to be delivered by providers under contract and preserve many other features of the current system.

Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) are being refocused into interim and transition organization with a single mandate of delivering home and community care and long-term care home placement and will be known as Home and Community Care Support Services.  This transition will occur effective April 1, 2020 and exist for the next few years as the province transitions to Ontario Health Teams.

View more information in the announcement  Backgrounder.

To address sectoral questions, the Deputy Minister of Health hosted an audio webinar which is a useful resource for health professionals to review.  Access the audio webinar here. 

Ministry of Health Consultation on Proposed Regulations under the Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act.

The Ministry of Health has released draft regulations and is seeking input on these proposed directions relating to:

  • scope of services - including proposed new services such as 
    • Education, training and the provision of supplies and equipment related to the provision of home care and community care services
    • Aphasia services
    • Pain and symptom management
    • Diabetes education
    • Psychological services for persons with acquired brain injury
  • location of services
  • method of delivery
  • eligibility for services
  • eligible providers
  • charges for services
  • care coordination functions
  • service maximums
  • bill of rights
  • complaints
  • self-directed care

View Ministry Consultation documents.  The consultation deadline is April 14, 2020.‚Äč

Implications for Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists provide essential services in a robust home and community care system.   Common concerns about the current home and community care system relating to limits on access to OT services, limitations of visit based services that do not include payment for indirect client care, etc. may be addressed in the system of the future.  As both frontline clinicians and care coordinators, occupational therapists have unique insights into the challenges and opportunities for home and community care.  We urge members to participate in the consultation, forwarding comments to the consultation email AND/OR forwarding your comments to support OSOT's submission to the consultation.  Please forward inputs to osot@osot.on.ca by not later than April 7, 2020.