Scarborough’s community health centres and community support agencies are looking at more efficient ways of providing their services under a plan ordered by the Central East Local Health Integration Network.
Four of the five Scarborough providers targeted by the initiative have agreed to move into its next stage, development of a “preferred” service delivery model which could see some of them merge.
Besides outright mergers - the LHIN, which dispenses health care funds for the province, names the “structural integration of two or more LHIN-funded organizations” in Scarborough as a possible goal - the agencies could seek to specialize in services they offer or share “back office” functions, such as human resources.
Affected by the integration plan are the local CHC called Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities, TAIBU CHC, which has a unique mission to serve health needs of Toronto’s black community, the St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Centre, TransCare Community Support Services and the Centre for Immigrant and Community Services.
Between them, the five organizations provide thousands of Scarborough residents each year with community-based primary care, hospice and palliative care services, supportive housing and assisted living services, Meals on Wheels, adult day programs, counseling and other services.
Last week, the LHIN announced the CHCs and two support agencies, led by an “integration planning team” were “moving forward with evaluating possible integration options” after accepting the plan.
But the board of CICS, which receives a relatively small amount of its funding from the LHIN, refused in December to approve the plan, which could end CICS’s participation.
The other four agencies will look at the risks and benefits of different options and bring a “preferred” service-delivery model to their boards for approval in April or May.
“This is a process we have to go through,” Liben Gebremikael, TAIBU’s executive director, said this week, promising changes will be brought to the public before being voted on. “There’s not going to be any decisions without discussions.”
The LHIN’s schedule calls for the integration plan to be reviewed and approved by its own board before June, when planning for a transition to the new service model will begin.