Durham health and social care providers continue journey to be named Ontario Health Team

Posted on Friday November 08, 2019

Durham Ontario Health Team (OHT) still in running to be named early adopter

Durham –The Durham Ontario Health Team (OHT) has achieved another milestone in the application process to be named one of Ontario’s first OHTs.

On November 1, a Ministry of Health (MOH) Outreach Team sat down with acute, home and community, primary care providers, and patient, family and caregiver representatives for an in-depth discussion on how health and social care will be enhanced through their partnership. This discussion provided an opportunity to bring the Durham OHT’s vision, for more connected health and social services, to life.

OHTs are a new model for coordinating and delivering people-centred health care and are part of the provincial government’s health system plan and People’s Healthcare Act, 2019.
The full Durham OHT application described how partners will make decisions and collaborate in the first year to transform services for local communities, including sharing patient information and data. It also demonstrated how the Durham OHT will work to improve access and connection to health services and outcomes for people who frequently access the emergency department.

The initial focus will be on improving service delivery and care for two high needs groups: older adults living with frailty and individuals living with complex conditions (including children and youth), with a focus on mental health and addictions. The submission also included plans for improving home and community care and access to digital health. As the Durham OHT evolves, a Patient Partnering Office will be established, which will offer standardization for patient experience processes and improve coordination and system navigation services so that patients are able to access care when and where they need it.

While the core group involved in the submission is comprised of 17 signatory organizations from across the care continuum, there is broad support from more than 70 health care partners across Durham, representing various organizations in the health, social services, education and private sectors.
The MOH is expected to announce the province’s first OHTs in late Fall 2019.


“The OHT application process has presented us with an opportunity to connect with providers and the Durham Region community to collaboratively develop a new vision for the future of healthcare in the Region,” said Matthew Anderson, Lakeridge Health President and CEO. “We are excited to continue working with the partners and supporters of the Durham OHT to create an integrated health system focused on the people we serve.”

“Our involvement in the development of the Durham OHT has provided an opportunity to build current and develop new relationships with our partners in health and social services. These relationships will provide the foundation for meaningful advancement in health care in Durham. We look forward to continuing this important work together.” Stephen Gray, Medical Associates of Port Perry and North Durham Family Health Team CEO.

"The experience of being a full participating patient and family member on the Lakeridge Health Team is rewarding knowing that the team welcomed my contribution as an equal member in the planning process developing our goals and strategies. The open feeling of cooperation and discussion among the members at each meeting encourages strong participation and team building." Joyce Perrin, Patient, Family and Caregiver Representative.

“Durham Mental Health Services (DMHS) is very encouraged by the productive work of the Durham OHT partners, and is pleased that the Durham OHT recognizes the key role that mental health and addictions plays for the initial priority populations”, said Rob Adams, DMHS President and CEO. “We are excited to continuing
collaborating with the Durham OHT as we look to enhance the coordination and management of health and social services for our communities.”

“We have the greatest respect for the patients, caregivers and providers who made the commitment to work toward establishing our own OHT in Durham Region. We’re excited about what we will be able to achieve, together, to provide a better care experience for all.” Dane Clarke, CBI Health Group Regional Director.

“As a community provider VON recognizes the daily challenges experienced by individuals to access care and services to meet changing needs in a timely manner. It is so exciting to be working alongside like-minded community partners committed to rethinking how we are organized from the client and patient experience. We look forward to the continued collaboration along this improvement journey!” Lori Cooper, Victorian Order of Nurses Regional Executive Director.

"As part of a team of patient and caregiver representatives working on this initiative, we are very encouraged by the focus and productive work to improve the healthcare system that drives towards a seamless and manageable system of services for our communities. By engaging the complete range of services providers around clinical healthcare, social community needs and using digital capabilities to enhance our relationships, we are driving to a complete family oriented system for Durham residents. Although we are focused on specific populations in our first year, our intent is to provide this capability to all Durham residents over time." Randy Filinski, Patient, Family and Caregiver Representative.

“As a dedicated member of the Oversight Committee, Partners in Community Nursing supports the further development of the Durham OHT. The submitted application demonstrates a desire from all alliance partners to improve care, while illustrating opportunities for efficient and collaborative service delivery aligned with the needs of the Durham Region population. It has been an absolute pleasure to see all partners fully commit to this process, specifically the Patient and Family Advisors. We are confident that the relationships being built, coupled with innovative strategies, will lead to positive outcomes. We look forward to the continued efforts and progression of the Durham OHT.” Heather Smith, Partners in Community Nursing Vice President.

“I am appreciative to have the opportunity to contribute to the planning and development of an effective and responsive holistic response to health care management in Durham region. Complex Injury is looking forward to working with community partners to share knowledge and expertise to bring exceptional services and systems of care to the population of this region.” Heather Condello, Complex Injury Rehab CIR Team and Clinic Lead and Owner.

“I am strongly encouraged by the Durham OHT members’ commitment to working in partnership with patients, families and caregivers which I saw demonstrated in my role of Patient and Family Advisor on the core team working on the development of the initial OHT assessment and this full submission. I am also very encouraged by the strong commitment to continued partnering and engagement with Durham Region patients, families and caregivers as outlined in the submission.” Anne-Marie Yaraskavitch, Patient, Family and Caregiver Representative.

“Durham OHT, we have the greatest opportunity to co-create, co-design, co-deliver care to our families and community through a person centred approach. This opportunity brings all of us together to more intimately collaborate with our hearts and minds building everlasting trusting relationship that can stand challenging transformational growth.” Francis Garwe, Carea Community Health Centre CEO.

For more information on the OHT process, please visit the Ministry of Health website.

For more information on the Durham OHT process, please visit our Durham Ontario Health Team page.

Media Contact

Lisa Kitchen
Durham OHT support Phone Number: 905.576.8711
Email Address: lkitchen@lh.ca


Durham Ontario Health Team Signatory Organizations

  • Alzheimer Society Durham Region
  • Brock CHC
  • Carea CHC
  • CBI Home Health
  • Community Advantage Rehabilitation Inc.
  • Community Care Durham
  • Complex Injury Rehab
  • Durham Mental Health Services
  • Grandview Children's Centre
  • Lakeridge Health
  • March of Dimes Canada
  • Medical Associates of Port Perry
  • North Durham FHT
  • Partners in Community Nursing
  • Regional Municipality of Durham
  • SE Health
  • Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada, Ontario Branch, Durham Site