The role of the Ontario Tories on the review of the Local Health Integration Networks is an interesting one to observe.
Mandated by the legislation that created the Local Health Integration Networks in 2006, the review has been handed over to the legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Policy. The NDP had argued to no avail that this standing committee was already stretched and that a special select committee should be struck given the central role the LHINs play within the health system.
The Tories are trying to play nice despite the fact that they have already issued a white paper than advocates simply doing away with the Local Health Integration Networks. To some that may sound promising, but the reality is the LHINs replaced 16-18 district health councils and seven regional offices of the Ministry of Health. The creation of the LHINs also led to the reduction of the Community Care Access Centres from 42 to 14. To simply cut them would create a substantial void.
The Tory plan is to replace the LHINs by giving the work to “hub hospitals,” which would effectively commission or contract local health care. The Tories would also completely do away with the Community Care Access Centres.
The Tories never calculated the cost of transferring these roles to the hospitals, instead insisting that shuttering the LHINs and CCACs would be all gravy. Clearly they think planning, contracting and accountability all come for free.