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How will Doug Ford change the health system? Here are some answers

Increasing the number of beds in the healthcare system Ontario will not solely solve the problem of overcrowding in the hospital, according to a report that will shape Doug Ford's health system reform.

The report comes from the Prime Minister's Office for Health Care Improvement and the Abolition of Hygiene Medicine, selected panels of 11 senior healthcare workers, led by a close-knit Ford ally.

The Council has a mandate to advise Ford and Christine Elliott, the health minister in Ontario, about reducing waiting times at the hospital, ending the so-called "corridor" and long-term structural changes in the healthcare system.

The report, published on Thursday morning, also says that too many patients go to the emergency room at the hospital due to conditions that could be treated elsewhere.

While the report says that the province "may not have an adequate number of hospital or long-term beds for the health needs of the population," it does not advocate an increase in the number of beds.

"By simply adding hospitals or beds to long-term care in the system, the problem of health care in the corridor in Ontario will not be solved," the 32-page document states.

Dr. Rueben Devlin is former CEO of Humber River Hospital, former PC party party president Ontario and close-knit Ford commissar. Named for a special health care adviser on the day Ford took over power. (Algonquin College / Twitter)

It is said that hospitals do not use existing beds as efficiently and describe "insufficient capacity" in home care and mental health in the community as a key factor.

"People across the province are spending time in hospital beds because they can not access other health care facilities," the report said.

"Departing to the Emergency Care Department that can be secured elsewhere is often happening in Ontario, sometimes because it's the only healthcare facility open 24/7."

Though the Panel presents what it considers as causes of hospital overcrowding, it still does not give concrete recommendations for change. This will appear in the next report to be held in the spring.

It is certain that the Ford government will accept its advice. The board is led by Dr. Rueben Devlin, a longtime Executive Director of Humber River Hospital, former president of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party and Ford's commissioner. He was appointed to the spot when the Ford government took over power last June.

"He brings some very useful insights," Elliott said at a press conference Wednesday.

The report states that the lack of community mental health services is partially guilty of pressure on the hospital

"The Council is concerned that patients are not able to access mental health and addiction services when they need it most," the report said.

"Long waiting times for community treatment mean that sometimes the condition of the patient gets worse while sitting in order, giving them no other option than looking for care through the emergency department."

Devlin is a strong advocate of better use of technology to improve the health system. (Martin Trainor / CBC)

Devlin has already publicly made strong hints on where he is headed by his reform recommendations.

"We know there are problems with the health system, but how do I fix it?" Devlin told her at her concert in late November at Algonquin College in late November. "People say," You can not improve your system, improve quality, and still save money. " That's not true."

The biggest challenge with which the Devlin Group – and Ford's government – faces the problem of overcrowding of the hospitals.

The rates of availability are unsatisfactory, Devlin said in his November speech. He pointed to the Ministry of Health's projections on hospital capacity, suggesting that the province needs 20,000 hospital beds by 2028, but only 1,700 are planned.

"Will we build 6.300 beds for patients, with their associated capital costs and operating costs, or will we provide a different kind of health care?" asked Devlin.

"We have to look at where patients can be treated. If we are to deal with some of the drug problems in the corridor, how will we make patients go to their primary care areas instead of appearing in an emergency?"

Devlin is also wondering if it would be wise to provide 41,000 additional room for long-term care, which the Ministry of Health's projects are needed to meet the demand.

"Will we really institutionalize our older citizens?" said Devlin in November, describing homes for long-term care as the ultimate option. "We want to provide community-based, home-based, and wherever they can get it out of the institution."

Multiple sources tell CBC News that the Ford government intends to decompose the local health network (LHIN) in the province as part of its healthcare reform. (sasigi pamai / Shutterstock)

Devlin wants to redesign service delivery to be patient and focused on the family

"We get a lot of feedback that navigating the system is difficult," he said. "If we have to take a family member into long-term care, it's difficult. If I have to take my beloved person through cancer care, it's difficult."

Devlin has a vision of what he calls "Team Ontario" for the health system. "No matter where you are, we will take care of you, a number you can call, a web site, someone who will manage the system and make it better for you. In my opinion, we should be there today."

The use of technology to improve the system is yet another key theme in the Devlin approach. It is anticipated that hospital emergency departments can get the entire medical history of a new patient by covering their hospital insurance card in Ontario (OHIP).

Picture is the provincial command center for digital health, and it boasts of virtual care options, such as a patient who is subjected to blood pressure at home, and the result is transmitted to an online physician.

Some US health care organizations (HMOs) provide more than half of their care practically, the Devlin said to Algonquin College.

Ford is committed to listening to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers on the front line while moving to system reform. "There is nothing worse than a crowd of politicians who speak to people on the front line, whether it's education, health, how to do their job," Ford said. (Samantha Craggs / CBC)

Devlin wants the "Ministry of Health and Organizational Structure that is Turnable and Effective". He said it would require "little organizational change".

He made a statement before the CBC News reported that, according to various sources, the Ford government intends to dispose of local LHINs health integration networks.

He said he had challenged his team like this: "What is the future of health care? How will we provide health care for 20 and 30 years?"

At a press conference Wednesday, Ford said his government was focusing on listening to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers on the front line.

"We are looking for their ideas, and our job is to review those ideas and then implement those ideas," Ford said at the Toronto Center for Addiction and Mental Health.

"There is nothing worse than a bunch of politicians who speak to people on the front line, whether it's education, health care, how to do their job when they do it day after day."

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