Less than three years from now, the door of a new family health hub will open and put Orleans at the leading edge of what could be a new paradigm in health care delivery.
Thursday, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that the province was committing $1 million to help the Montfort Hospital develop a comprehensive business plan for a type of mini-hospital in Orléans.
The new centre would offer emergency service, chronic disease and pain management, mental health service, dialysis, cancer care, diagnostic imaging, and laboratory services that would otherwise only be available at a hospital.
“This is a new model that is bringing primary care out of the hospital setting,” said Gerald Savoie, president and CEO of the Montfort Hospital.
The money is intended to cover the cost of developing service models, a detailed plan outlining service volumes, cost estimates, requirement for human resources, space and infrastructure, as well as a site evaluation and construction plan.
Savoie said there are between seven and 10 locations being considered, and they hope to begin construction in early 2011, a timeline he called “lightning speed” for a government project. If all goes well, the health hub would open its doors by late 2011 or early 2012.
The core services of the new health hub would be formed by the Orléans Family Health Team. The Champlain Community Care Access Centre would also be located there, to help families connect with home care, long-term care and other services.
Dr. Robert Cushman, CEO of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, predicted this centre would become the model for health care delivery in the future.
“The solo practice model – the doc in the box, or the nurse or physio by himself – does not work in modern medicine,” he said. “Patients today are much too complex. That why we have to locate services … this is the way healthcare needs to evolve.”
Even though McGuinty is enthusiastic about potential for the health hub in Orleans, he isn’t rushing to set them up across the province.
“I’d rather that we work together on the development of this model. Make sure we get it right, then hold it up as a shining example that would serve as an inspiration to other communities,” he said.