The Ontario government announced on Saturday they have committed to a new model that brings together health care providers to work as one team.

“One of the health teams will be here in North Bay,” Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said Saturday. “All of the partners will work together so you have a one-stop-shop and continuum of care. This is what doctors, Emergency Medical Response (EMS), all of the nurse practitioners, all the mental health and addictions people, have all asked for this for years and we are delivering this today.”

The team will be called Near North Health and Wellness Ontario Health Team and will be one of 24 in the province. With these teams, the government says patients will experience easier transitions from one provider to another, for example between hospitals and home care providers, one patient story, one patient record, and one care plan.

“This makes it so that health care is more localized, centralized, and patient-centric,” Fedeli said. “This is all about ending hallway health care and this is a big step towards doing that.”

“This has never been done before in Canada,” local physician Dr. Paul Preston stated. “It’s a really big change and you have to do it right. I know for sure when this is completely mature, everyone will notice a difference. If people are more connected to their caregivers in the community, they’re less likely to go to emergency in the first place and less likely to end up in the hallway. This is a huge deal, the government has it right this time.”

The Near North Health and Wellness Ontario Health Team will begin to implement itself on some of their proposed programs and services in the new year. Four local providers, Nipissing Mental Health and Housing Support Services, North Bay Recovery Home, CMHA – Nipissing Regional Branch, and People for Equal Partnership, plan to be fully integrated by April.