Frequently Asked Questions

What are Local Health Integration Networks?... and what do they do?

LHINs are not-for-profit organizations that are responsible for planning, integrating and funding local health services in 14 different geographic areas of the province. LHINs are intended to be the managers for health services that are delivered in hospitals, long-term care facilities, community health centres, community support services and mental health agencies.

LHINs are based on a principle that community-based care is best planned, coordinated and funded in an integrated manner within the local community because local people are best able to determine their health service needs and priorities.

LHINs determine the health service priorities required in their local community. LHINs work with local health providers and community members to implement an Integrated Health Service Plan (IHSP) for their local area. They are responsible for funding and ensuring accountability of local health services providers.

What is the Local Health System Integration Act?

The legislation, gives the LHINs the legislative power and authority they will need to effectively plan, coordinate, and fund their local health systems to make it easier for patients to access the care they need.

Are there any impacts on French language services?

Under the French Language Services Act, (FLSA) any head or central office of a government agency must provide services in French. The FLSA also indicates that members of the public have the right to receive services in French from the Government of Ontario in 24 designated areas. Each LHIN provides services to the public in French in accordance with the FLSA. Although 2 of the 14 LHINs are not within designated areas, there will be no difference in French-language services provided to the public by these LHIN offices.

Although LHINs are not be providers of clinical services, LHINs plan services, fund and integrate the delivery of health care services. In these roles, LHINs need to assess and plan for French-language services in their areas, and provide the appropriate funding and allocation of resources. In doing so, the LHINs are required to engage a French language health planning entity for their geographic area.

Are communities involved in local decisions?

Community engagement is a core function of LHINs aimed at reaching out to communities for a variety of reasons, including assessing local needs and planning for local health services. The legislation requires LHINs to engage their communities. Each LHIN determines the process, format, and frequency of community engagement activities based on the unique characteristics and needs of the local community.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) provides guidelines and direction to the LHINs and is responsible for regulation of the LHINs.

Why were the LHINs given this authority?

Community needs are best determined at the local level. By devolving responsibility for health services to LHINs, the Ministry plays a more strategic role in the health system by concentrating on setting overall strategic directions and provincial priorities for the health care system.

However, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care is also ultimately accountable for the health care system and ensures that there are appropriate checks and balances in place to hold LHINs accountable for the performance of the local health system and the services Ontarians receive.

How will LHINs make health care better?

LHINs are responsible for managing the local health system to ensure that services are integrated and coordinated. LHINs are expected to ease the flow of patients across the health care system and improve their access to services in their community. They are also expected to plan and allocate resources more efficiently to ensure better access to health care across the system.

LHINs allow for more community input into local health care decisions, improving health care experiences for patients in every part of the province.

What does the LHIN mean for patients?

Patients benefit from having health service decisions made by people in their community, who understand the needs of the community and the people who live there.

LHINs are specifically mandated to engage people and providers in their communities about their needs and priorities. They develop ways to improve access to health services, respond to concerns people have about those services and look for ways for service providers to improve the quality of care.

LHINs play an important role by ensuring that patients have better access to coordinated and integrated services through proper planning, and by building on the strength of local health organizations to improve communication among providers.

What are LHINs responsible for?

LHINs will have responsibility for:

  • Public and private hospitals (including divested Provincial Psychiatric Hospitals)
  • Community Care Access Centres
  • Community Support Service Organizations
  • Mental Health and Addiction Agencies
  • Community Health Centres
  • Long-Term Services Homes
  • Diabetes Education Centres

Acronyms

  • NE LHIN – North East Local Health Integration Network
  • SAA – Service Accountability Agreement
  • H-SAA- Hospital Service Accountability Agreement
  • M-SAA – Multi-Sector Service Accountability Agreement
  • L-SAA – Long-Term Care Service Accountability Agreement
  • M-LAA – Ministry LHIN Accountability Agreement
  • RAP – Regional Addictions and Mental Health Panel
  • eHealth – Electronic Health
  • LHINC – Local Health Integration Network Collaboration
  • HAPS – Hospital Accountability Planning Submission
  • IHSP – Integrated Health Service Plan
  • CAPS – Community Accountability Planning Submission
  • HIRF – Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund
  • HSP – Health Service Provider
  • ALC – Alternate Level of Care
  • LAPS – Long-Term Care Home Accountability Planning Submission
  • HIP – Hospital Improvement Plan
  • ASP – Annual Service Plan
  • HBAM – Health-Based Allocation Model
  • JPPC – The Ontario Joint Policy and Planning Committee
  • HPAC – Health Professional Advisory Committee
  • OCAN – Ontario Common Assessment of Needs
  • MOHLTC – Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
  • CCAC – Community Care Access Centre
  • CSS – Community Support Service
  • LTC – Long Term Care
  • CHC – Community Health Centres
  • LSSO – LHINs Shared Services Office
  • QIP – Quality Improvement Plan