Key Issues

Family Health Teams participating in “Bundled Care” – a funding model aiming to improve care coordination

Sep. 2 – Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins announced provincial funding for an expanded pilot to provide for patients’ care needs using an approach called bundled care. Taking place in six communities across Ontario, the aim is to help people transition more smoothly from the hospital into their homes.

Also known as an “integrated funding model”, with this approach a single payment is provided to a group of health care providers to cover care for an individual patient both in the hospital and at home. Most of their health care team will remain the same, with services coordinated around their needs. This should decrease emergency department visits and lower the risk of readmission.

The announcement was made as part of the Ministry’s Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care. In February, changing funding models was outlined as one way to improve the delivery of better coordinated and integrated care. A commitment to proceed with bundled care was also made in Patients First: A Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care in May.

Since care coordination is a fundamental role of primary care, this pilot has implications for interprofessional primary care teams whose collaborations with health care partners would be impacted by this change. AFHTO members North York FHT and Thames Valley FHT are currently taking part in these groups which also include such diverse health care organizations as hospitals, community care access centres, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN).

The bundled care approach has been piloted at St. Joseph’s Health System in Hamilton since 2011. Results show hospital stays have been reduced by up to 33 per cent and rates of readmission within 60 days to any hospital have decreased by 56 per cent. The program is also saving up to $4,000 per patient.

The province plans to continue the program’s expansion, supporting additional teams in different areas across Ontario within the next year. AFHTO looks forward to learning more about the results of these projects and what they mean for our members.

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