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Thursday, July 23, the Ministry of Health announced the next wave of Ontario Health Teams (OHTs), expanding the model to another 5 communities across the province. These new teams are in addition to the 24 announced in December 2019. The provincial government also announced 17 additional teams who have been invited to submit full applications this fall, the next step in the process to becoming a formal OHT. These teams had been designated as “in development” previously.

A short background on Ontario Health Teams

This announcement is the latest in the development and expansion of a new model of integrated care for Ontario. Since the government first introduced the concept in the spring of 2019, groups of health service providers have been organizing regionally to design plans for a more integrated health system. Working within a quadruple aim framework, the teams’ goals are to provide better patient and population health outcomes, better patient, family and caregiver experience, better provider experience and better value.

Due to COVID-19, invitations for “in development” teams to proceed to full application were delayed and approved OHTs are taking a flexible approach to implementation given the system focus on managing the pandemic.

With the passing of the Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act in early July, progress continues towards OHTs managing and delivering home care for their local community. While each OHT who proceeded to full application was required to include plans for home care in the application, the 14 LHIN corporations – under the name Home and Community Care Support Services – will continue with this mandate in the short-term.

Next steps

All Ontario Health Teams – including those previously announced, the newly announced teams and the teams invited to submit full applications – will need to return their focus to this work and to advancing integrated care.

The immediate focus for the teams already moving forward will be on assessing their work together to support the demands of COVID-19, identifying any lessons learned or new best practices that have emerged. Looking forward, the key discussion for these teams will be to finalize their governance and decision-making structures, advancing the formality of their partnerships.

Teams moving to full application will be focused on completing that application. In conversations with these groups over the past few weeks, the Ministry of Health has been focused on the experience of teams during the pandemic and on giving teams the space to showcase how their partnerships have served them well during this time.

Newly announced teams

The following teams will be joining the 24 previously announced as Ontario Health Teams:

Algoma Ontario Health Team

Niagara Ontario Health Team

Ottawa East Ontario Health Team

Western Ontario Health Team

Western York Region Ontario Health Team

Teams invited to submit full applications

The following teams have been invited to submit full applications:

Brantford Brant Team

Downtown East Toronto Team

Kawartha Lakes Team

Elgin Team

Grey-Bruce Team

Connected for Care – Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Team

Kitchener, Waterloo, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich (KW4) Team

Mid-West Toronto Team

North Simcoe Team

Oxford and Area Team serving Oxford Region – Ingersoll, Woodstock and Tillsonburg

Rainy River District Team

Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Team serving Kingston, Greater Napanee and surrounding areas

Sarnia Lambton Team serving Lambton County

Scarborough Team

South Georgian Bay Team serving Collingwood, Stayner, Wasaga Beach, Creemore, Clearview and Clarksburg

West Toronto Team

Windsor Essex Team

If you have any questions about today’s announcement or next steps in the OHT process, please contact your Santis Health lead.