Bluewater Health President and CEO Mike Lapaine speaks at Lambton County Council. November 6, 2019 Photo by Melanie Irwin

Lambton ready for first step in healthcare ‘reset’

Sarnia-Lambton healthcare partners plan to submit an initial self-assessment to the Ministry of Health by the end of this month, in response to the provincial government’s call for Ontario Health Teams.

Speaking on behalf of the steering committee, Bluewater Health CEO Mike Lapaine told Lambton County Council Wednesday it’s the first step before submitting a full application.

“There’s over 72 individuals involved, I will estimate there’s over two dozen agencies involved, there’s representatives from the three Indigenous communities and we have over 12 patient and family advisors involved, so it’s very complex,” said Lapaine.

He said the ministry wants to see that you’ve cast the net very widely.

“Very few agencies control a lot of the budgets and the activities, but all of the additional agencies provide so much value they need to be incorporated as well and a true system design should incorporate the perspectives from all of those different agencies,” said Lapaine.

The plan to create regional health teams across the province comes as the Progressive Conservative’s work to disband Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks.

Lapaine sees it as an opportunity to reset the health sector.

“So much of how healthcare’s been organized over the last several decades has been top-down, and it feels a little directive,” said Lapaine. “This is actually a wonderful opportunity where they’re actually allowing people that are providing the care to determine what a better-designed system would look like. So, we’ve actually been provided with the freedom to be able to imagine that, and that’s refreshing.”

Ontario Health Teams are geared to serve groups of 50,000 to 300,000 people and will be accountable for service delivery and system performance in their respective areas.