Support services network forms to discuss LHINs changes

Support services network forms to discuss LHINs changes

When community service providers first launched the “Metamorphosis” group in March 2005, it was designed as a “safe place” for agencies to discuss pending changes in health care provision prior to the introduction of local health integration networks.

The idea, says Ray Applebaum, executive director of Peel Senior Link (www.peelseniorlink.com), was to bring together Ministry of Health and Long Term Care-funded community organizations serving different sectors in the health care system.

The organizations – such as the Ian Anderson House, Hospice of Peel, Dufferin Community Support Services, Independent Living, and the March of Dimes – were based in either LHIN 6 (Mississauga Halton) or LHIN 5 (Central West).

Along with educating its members about LHINs, the group would offer community support service organizations a chance to experiment with innovation and integration.

After a successful first meeting which drew 85 staff, management and board members, “Metamorphosis” developed three working groups. One developed a website, while the other two focused on LHIN orientation and “Common Training and Education.”

“Metamorphosis” recently received a project grant through the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Health Results Team for Information Management.

According to Applebaum, the “Business Requirements for Information Management Study” pilot project will “provide community support services agencies with a thorough knowledge of their business requirements as they relate to information systems, in order to respond effectively to funder and other stakeholder expectations.”

“Nobody can work in isolation anymore,” says Applebaum.

Six of the agencies in the network have also begun to share recruitment efforts for back office staff, placing collective advertisements.

“Metamorphosis” has recently begun holding a series of breakfast meetings, specifically designed to bring board members into discussions around LHINs. At a May 29th breakfast meeting, more than 50 people were in attendance.

“It’s a great forum for LHINs to talk to governance boards,” says Applebaum.

The “Metamorphosis” network has inspired community support services agencies in other LHINs to strike similar partnerships, says Applebaum, pointing to like-minded groups in the Simcoe, Waterloo-Wellington, and Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brand LHINs.

The network enjoys a strong relationship with LHIN senior staff, says Applebaum, working closely with Michael Fenn, CEO, John Magill, Chair, and Scott McLeod, senior director of planning, integration, and community engagement.

“Over the past year we have gotten closer to the LHINs,” he says. “We’re the experts in community services and we’re saying – ‘we’re here, we agree with the process, and how can we work together?’

“It’s demystified the sector for the purposes of the LHINs,” he adds, “we had to organize to dialogue.”