Now that this region has created an Ontario Health Team Planning Committee, the real work begins.
And there is much to be done in a very short amount of time.
The first order of business involves the engagement of physicians and health care providers.
South Bruce Grey Health Centre CEO Michael Barrett says this involves bringing doctors and health care providers to the table to ensure they are part of the Ontario Health Team discussion.
He admits these will be difficult conversations, as they will involve talks of shared budgets and services.
Fortunately, Barrett says the health partners in Grey Bruce have twenty years of collaboration under their belt, which he believes puts this region ahead of the game when it comes to OHT planning.
He cites the Integrated Health Coalition as an example of this cooperative sprit in Grey Bruce, an organization made of up health partners across the region that meets monthly.
Even with the success of current and past partnerships, Barrett says there is always room for improvement.
The OHT will provide a new way of organizing and delivering services in the community.
Through this model, groups of health care providers will work together as a team to deliver a full and coordinated continuum of care for patients, even if they are not in the same organization or physical location.
Under the OHT there will be one funding stream which will mean the OHT will have to decide how the resources will be allocated.
Barrett says this will be a challenge for sure, but he believes the key to all of this is to remain patient focused.
Along with physician and provider engagement, the OHT Planning Committee will also conduct the patient engagement process ths summer.
The feedback from the engagement sessions will be used in the creation of the local Readiness Plan that will be submitted to the Ministry this Fall by the Committee.
Once the Province has reviewed and approved this plan, the OHT Committee will then be able to apply to become an actual Ontario Health Team.
Over the summer months the OHT Committee will also identify the population group they would like the OHT to focus on in the first year. (ie mental health and addictions, frail seniors, alternative level of care)
They will also be closely watching the handful of early OHT adopters in the province to learn from their experience.