Tag Archives: North West LHIN

Why are six LHINs still afraid to let the community speak directly to their boards?

The Local Health Integration Networks spend a lot of time talking about community engagement.

In his 2010 report The LHIN Spin, the Ontario Ombudsman stated “the reality of community decision-making has fallen far short of the political spin.”

Andre Marin writes: “there are no clear minimum standards for soliciting community views on systematic priorities or specific integration plans, and different LHINs interpret their public outreach obligations differently.”

Marin picked up on the common complaint that while the LHINs regularly take steps to obtain local stakeholder views on the general state of the health care system, the performance has been less than adequate when it comes to changes that “have direct immediate impact on the lives of local residents.”

Following that 2010 report, the province issued a toolkit in the following year that proposed guidelines on LHIN community engagement.

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Inspectors, LHIN transparency and Hudak follies — some updates on stories you may be following

Some updates on recent stories in the Diablogue…

We’ve been trying to assess in recent weeks how many of the 100 long-term care inspectors Health Minister Deb Matthews promised in June 2013 have actually been hired.  The official word is now in: 89 – all of them temporary or “fixed term” contracts. January 13 we pointed out that the promise of having every nursing home receive a resident quality inspection in 2014 and annually thereafter will be difficult to fulfill if all these inspectors are intended to be on the job for only 12 months.  It normally takes three inspectors – nursing, dietary and environmental — as long as two weeks to complete the full RQI inspection. This is on top of responding to more than 2,000 complaints each year from families and residents.

We’ve heard back from two more Local Health Integration Networks on their policy around making public board documents. The Welland Tribune tripped our interest in this policy after they suggested the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN was the least transparent in the province, posting board materials as long as six weeks after the actual board meeting.  Our January 7 post noted that four LHINs were missing from the newspaper’s survey and we decided to send them e-mails that afternoon asking about their disclosure policy. This is important given it can be difficult to follow the discussion at a LHIN board meeting without access to the documents (ie. briefing notes, minutes, reports) board members are referencing. It raises the question how “open” is an open board meeting? Most of the LHINs post their documents well in advance of board meetings or at least make documents available during the meeting.  The first to get back to us of the four LHINs missing from the Tribune survey was Toronto Central, but more recently Central West and Mississauga Halton checked in, both indicating that they too offered more than an agenda to citizens attending their board proceedings.  Central West, responding to our question on January 21, posts all board material seven days prior to their meeting. They also typically post meeting notices 25-30 days in advance. Central West deals with disclosure by noting all materials are in draft form until approved by their board.  Mississauga Halton is not as open. It makes available board materials to the public at the actual meetings. Those not attending the meeting can request materials after the board meeting is complete. Minutes are made available online up to 30 days after the board has approved them. They post their yearly meeting schedule on-line at the beginning of the year and notify of any changes within the 10-days required under the Local Health System Integration Act. Mississauga Halton apologized for the 10 days it took to answer our question. Their response came January 17. That leaves just the North West LHIN to reply to our January 7 survey.

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Turning the consultation tables on the LHINs

Part of the mandate of the Local Health Integration Networks has been community engagement. Usually the LHIN organizes the consultation and groups are invited to participate.

There have been times when OPSEU members have engaged in these consultations and found them to be useful. Other times we have had reports where members felt the consultation process was manipulative towards a specific end.

This week we are trying something a little different.

Instead of waiting for an invitation, OPSEU’s Mental Health Division is inviting the LHINs to our own consultation.

Two regional meetings are taking place this week, although more are being planned.

Mental health has been top of mind this week with the release of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s strategy paper.

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