The Ontario First Nation Health Action Plan is a $222 million investment over three years (2016-2019), and a commitment to $104.5 million of ongoing funding afterwards. The action plan focuses on four key areas: Primary care, public health and health promotion, seniors care and hospital services, and life promotion and crisis support.
The majority of this action plan focuses on communities in Northern Ontario, and touches on many of the commitments laid out in The Journey Together. For example, the mental health initiatives laid out in The Journey Together fall under this action plan, as is the expansion of home and community services and increased telemedicine services.
When the plan was announced, Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day said,
“It’s not going to be a uniform rollout — there’s going to be a lot of work that will take place so we’re going to have to figure out where’s the most need.” He went on to say that “today’s investment is a good step forward, but there is a lot of work ahead.”
Chiefs of Ontario has been working with the MOHLTC to ensure that the work on implementation has proceeded appropriately.
To facilitate engaging communities, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Chiefs of Ontario have worked together to form the First Nations Advisory Committee. This committee is mandated to lead the development of recommendations to improve home and community care services, including palliative care, for First Nations communities on reserve across the province. It includes representation from the Chiefs of Ontario, each of the PTOs, and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.’ This committee met by teleconference multiple times before meeting in person in October 2016 in an effort to identify the needs of First Nations communities.
The First Nations Advisory Committee made a number of recommendations for home and community care in a report released on June 2nd, 2017. Each of these recommendations proposed mechanisms that would improve health care service delivery and increased First Nation control of health care. There were a total of 26 recommendations built around seven themes: Integration and seamless coordination of care, discharge planning, palliative care, training and development, data and reporting, clarification of roles and responsibilities, and technology assisted home and community care services.
While the committee was not in a position to recommend the amount of funding that communities receive, they did put forward ideas for how to determine the support each community receives. The committee suggested a formula be developed where each community receives a base amount, with additions connected to the population and remoteness of the community.