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Association of Ontario Health Centres
Association des centres de sante de l’Ontario

Ontario's voice for community-governed primary health care.

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CHC fact sheet

  • Ontario’s Community Health Centres (CHCs) are community governed not-for-profit primary health care organizations
  • They stand out from other primary health care model s because they deliver primary care services in health promotion and community development programs.
  • CHCs focus on keeping people - and the communities where they live - in good health. If health problems are caused by social and environmental issues, health teams work with community members and develop programs to reduce them.
  • A total of 74 CHCs serve approximately 500,000 people with 250, 000 of these accessing primary care services.
  • Community governance at CHCs, gives people a voice and a choice about the health services they receive. CHCs are also key connectors: interprofessional health teams partner with other health and social service agencies.
  • CHCs’ comprehensive approach produces a superior quality of care. According to the Élisabeth Bruyère Institute, compared to other models, CHCs deliver superior health promotion services and chronic disease prevention and management. They also do a better job orienting services to community needs.
  • CHCs direct services to those with complex needs. And a new study from the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Studies shows that even though CHCs serve people with more complex needs, they do a better job than other primary care models keeping people out of hospital emergency departments.
  • CHCs are key contributors to the sustainability of our healthcare system. By creating community-based hubs where a wide range of services are integrated under one roof, they provide excellent value for money.
  • The average capital cost to build one CHC as a hub with several services under one roof is $6M. To build over 100 hubs across the province would cost less than the wing of a mid-sized hospital.
  • CHCs ease pressures on the costly acute and long-term care system because they focus on health promotion and prevention, keeping people out of emergency departments and hospital beds.
  • CHC effectiveness will get even better as they move forward with with a shared electronic health record system.  Sharing the same system  will enable CHCs to analyze their performance and press forward with quality improvement agenda.
  • Despite their effectiveness, only 4% of people living in Ontario have access to Community Health Centres. The Association of Ontario Health Centres is calling for equity and populations needs-based primary health care planning to strengthen their role.