RRDOHT will submit a full Health Team application

Merna Emara
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Rainy River District Ontario Health Team is in the process of completing a full application to become an Ontario Health Team. This decision follows an approval of the first step of self-assessment to ensure it is in alignment with the Ministry of Health’s criteria for OHTs.

According to the Ministry of Health, OHTs are groups of healthcare providers and organizations that ate clinically and fiscally accountable for delivering a full and coordinated continuum of care to a defined geographic location.

As part of the restructuring process of the provincial government, OHTs are being developed to help improve patient care in local communities in Ontario. There are currently about 30 OHTs in Ontario, all working to support their respective local communities.

According to their press release, RRDOHT includes direct health service partner organizations in the Rainy River District. The current membership includes leadership from: Gizhewaadiziwin Health Access Centre; Atikokan Family Health Team; Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services; Fort Frances Family Health Team; Atikokan General Hospital; Canadian Mental Health Association Fort Frances Branch; Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board; Northwest Health Unit; Riverside Health Care Facilities; Rainy Lake Chiefs Secretariat; Ojibways of Onigaming; Anishinaabeg of Naogashiing; and Mishkosiminiziibiing First Nation.

Shanna Weir, executive director at the Gizhewaadiziwin Health Access Centre, said they will be seeking input from the community to help them design a healthcare model for the District.

“We are just beginning the development of our application and working through the process and requirements so have not yet defined the feedback we will be looking for,” Weir said in an emailed response. “However, we will want to ensure that the communities and clients we serve have opportunities throughout this process to provide input into what the Rainy River District Ontario Health Team will “look” like.”

Ontarians will be able to continue to access care from their existing care providers. Once the OHT are created, Ontarians will be able to chose who caters to their needs.

Fully developed health teams will be able to provide patients with digital choices of virtual care such as virtual visits, emails and access to health records. There will also be the ability to communicate and share information to drive performance improvements.

The Ministry of Health is not requiring a specific governance models. OHTs will determine how to organize themselves and what governance structures works best for them, their patients and their communities.

Organizations are eligible to become an OHT include, but are not limited to home care, long-term care, midwifery services mental health, addiction services, community support services and rehabilitation care.