Province paves way for Ontarians to access more effective and efficient care in health and social service hubs
For immediate release
TORONTO (July 11, 2011) Community Health Ontario (CHO), an alliance of three provincial associations representing the province’s not-for-profit home and community support agencies as well as mental health and addictions and community-governed primary health care providers, welcomes today’s announcement to extend the Infrastructure Ontario loan program to community health and social services hubs.
The news comes as part of a larger Infrastructure loan announcement made by Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli. It means health and social services providers can access long-term loans at a fixed rate with low interest to enable communities throughout Ontario to build infrastructure for hubs. Each hub must include at least one agency that provides health services and another that includes a social service agency.
Although Ontario has many examples of health and social service agencies collaborating to deliver services, the model has been held back due to lack of funding to build or lease facilities to house their shared programs. Today’s announcement will enable partnerships to flourish creating more effective and efficient services throughout the province. As CHO argued in its submission to the province seven months ago, co-location of services under one roof can serve as a powerful tool addressing a wide range of government priorities: health promotion and illness prevention, aging at home, mental health and addiction issues and poverty reduction, to name just a few.
“Today’s announcement means good news for improved heath and well-being in Ontario,” said Adrianna Tetley, Executive Director of the Association of Ontario Health Centres, one of the three associations that make up CHO. “Ontario’s 73 Community Health Centres have a long history partnering with social service agencies so clients get the right mix of services they need. Many have shovel-ready hub proposals to build co-location facilities. They’ll definitely be applying to secure loans at the new preferred rate so new hubs can be built in the next year or two.”
Today’s announcement is especially good news for people living in Ontario aging at home, or requiring home care. “Hubs are an innovative solution to meet the needs of an aging population,” said Susan Thorning, Executive Director of the Ontario Community Support Association. “We congratulate the McGuinty government for moving forward creating more effective and easier-to-access services.”
Health and social service hubs are also a highly effective model for people dealing with mental health and addiction issues. “In many communities, today’s announcement will mean a very positive transformation,” said David Kelly, Executive Director of the Ontario Federation for Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs. “When multiple services are located under one roof, people dealing with mental health and addiction issues will have a much easier time accessing the services they need.”
Community Health Ontario is looking forward to receiving further details on the loan program so applications can be submitted as quickly as possible.
Links to the Ontario government's news release:
Community Health Ontario a strategic partnership between the Association of Ontario Health Centres(AOHC), the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) and the Ontario Federation of Community and Mental Health and Addictions Programs (OFCMHAP). Together it represents not-for-profit home and community support, mental health and addictions and community-governed primary health care providers in Ontario.