Provide provides $5,946,200 to expand Hastings-Quinte community paramedicine programming

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THURSDAY, FEB. 11, 2021

BELLEVILLE – The Ontario government is investing $5,946,200 over the next four years to expand the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care Program to Hastings and Prince Edward counties. This initiative, delivered by Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services, will help more seniors on long-term care waitlists stay safe while living in the comfort of their own homes for longer.

Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, and Daryl Kramp, MPP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington announced the funding allocation today as part of an annual commitment of up to $54 million by the Province’s Ministry of Long-Term Care to expand the program to additional communities across Ontario following a successful launch in five communities last fall.

 “As we work to build and modernize long-term care capacity in our communities, this innovative program will ensure residents waiting for a bed receive regular care from specially trained paramedics,” said Smith. “This investment will provide seniors and their families additional peace of mind their care needs are being supported as they transition to long-term care.”

Kramp added the proactive program will also have a positive impact on local health-care services.

“Protecting the health and safety of all Ontarians is our top priority. This funding will help our vulnerable citizens stay at home and out of the hospital. That not only benefits them, but it also serves to eliminate hallway health care and ease pressures on our frontline health-care services,” said Kramp.

The program, which will be funded through 2023-2024, will provide:

  • Access to health services 24-7, through in-home and remote methods, such as online or virtual supports;
  • Non-emergency home visits and in-home testing procedures;
  • Ongoing monitoring of changing or escalating conditions to prevent or reduce emergency incidents;
  • Additional education about healthy living and managing chronic diseases; and connections for participants and their families to home care and community supports.

Three-quarters of the $5,946,200 investment represents operational funding over the next four years, while the remaining allocation can be used to provide vehicles, equipment, and supplies.

Chief Doug Socha, of Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services, said families receiving proactive care from paramedics within the community have strongly embraced the concept and expressed gratitude that the Province is providing new funding to expand the scope of programming to meet local needs.

“Our area has a high number of clients on the long-term care waitlist, and a high number of older adults living at home needing support,” said Socha. “We plan to immediately train additional community paramedics in the expanded clinical care protocols to add to our existing program so we can increase the care in the community.”

Rick Phillips, the Warden of Hastings County, was pleased to see this service extended to local residents.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news indeed,” said Phillips. “It will directly benefit people who are on waitlists for long term care by helping them stay in their homes longer and that is really important.”

“I want to thank Minister Smith and MPP Kramp who have been strong advocates for our community paramedic operations.  Their support was critical, I believe to today’s announcement.  Community paramedics play a critical role in supporting patients in their homes and have been on the frontlines of the battle against COVID 19.  With this new money they can do much more to support our residents across Belleville, Quinte West, Prince Edward County and all of Hastings County”

Carol Smith Romeril, Vice-President and Chief Nursing Officer at Quinte Health Care, also applauded the news.

“This is an excellent initiative that will help keep people home where they are most comfortable, without having an extended hospital stay. This will help ensure individuals receive the right care in the right place, and help preserve hospital resources for those that need them the most,” said Smith Romeril.

Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care, indicated the program is yet another way Ontario is collaborating with health system partners to innovate and meet residents’ care needs as the Province builds a modern patient-centred care model and responds to COVID-19.

“The community paramedicine program provides our seniors, their families and caregivers peace of mind while waiting for a long-term care space,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “Expanding the program across the province means that more of our loved ones can access services from their own homes, potentially even delaying the need for long-term care, while still providing the quality care and service they need and deserve.”


Hastings and Prince Edward among first regions to transition back to less-restrictive Green level

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MONDAY, FEB. 8, 2021

BAY OF QUINTE – Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, confirmed the easing of restrictions for businesses and social gatherings in the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health area Wednesday as it will be one of three regions reverting to the Green level of the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.

“Due to the sacrifices the people of Quinte made to adhere strictly to public health guidance, our region was among the first to re-open schools and it will again lead the Province in the resumption of business. That helps revitalize our economy,” said Smith. “Thank you everyone for doing your part to help our community move forward. I’m especially appreciative of the essential and frontline workers who have worked hard and shown incredible dedication throughout this pandemic.”

The decision to return Hastings Prince Edward to Green is based on improving key indicators locally, including lower transmission of COVID-19, improving hospital capacity, and available public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management. The change will take place at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday Feb. 10. Other health units moving forward include neighbouring Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington and Renfrew County and District.

While the government still advises strict adherence to public health measures such as proper hand hygiene, physical distancing, and wearing a facemask and still discourages non-essential travel, within Green-level zones, it has increased limits for gatherings in private settings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors and those in staffed businesses and facilities, where physical distancing can be maintained to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Religious services, including weddings and funerals, can be staged at 30-per-cent capacity of the room or with up to 100 people outdoors.

Retail operations may resume in-person operations with passive screening signage in place and they are required to prepare a safety plan in accordance with workplace safety guidance. Restaurants, personal care services, gaming establishments, cinemas, meeting spaces, sports and fitness facilities, and performing arts venues also may welcome patrons in accordance with safety plans and conditions.

While these three regions have been able to proceed at the Green level, the 28 remaining health units will remain under stay-at-home orders at this time, limiting travel between zones. The majority of the health units will return to the framework on Feb. 16, while those in Toronto, Peel, and York will return on Feb. 22. All remaining health units will transition to the framework at the colour level that corresponds to their case levels and hospital capacity at that time.

“Our government has recognized that some parts of the province are not in the same position we are in locally, so we’ve kept that stay-at-home order in place to reduce travel between zones and the threat of further exposure,” said Smith. “We will continue to monitor the data and listen to the advice of our medical professionals to ensure our region remains safe.”

Smith noted that as part of Monday’s announcement, the government has provided Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams an “emergency brake” that will allow him to work with local medical officers of health to recommend immediate measures to interrupt transmission.

Dr. Williams indicated that while today’s announcement is a positive step, it remains crucial that the public continues to take cautious measures.

“While we are seeing our numbers trend in the right direction, our situation remains precarious as the variants of concern remain a serious risk," said Williams. "By continuing to follow all public health and workplace safety measures, we can continue to reduce the number of new cases and the strain on our health system."

To learn about the rules in a Green level, please read the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework at https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Learn more about how the Government of Ontario continues to protect its people from COVID-19 by visiting covid-19.ontario.ca.
  • Learn about Ontario’s vaccination plan at covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-vaccines-ontario.
  • Learn about support programs for businesses at ontario.ca/covidsupport.
  • Find out about provincial supports for individuals at ontario.ca/page/covid-19-support-people.
  • Learn more about the full rage of provincial and federal programs for individuals and businesses at www.covidsupports.ca/bayofquinte.

MPP Smith provides update on expanded supports through Ontario Autism Program

TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing additional supports for families of children on the autism spectrum. Starting in March, the province will begin offering core clinical services based on a child's individual needs, a key element of the new Ontario Autism Program. These services include applied behaviour analysis, speech language pathology, occupational therapy and mental health supports.

Recognizing the challenges and uncertainty families are facing as a result of COVID-19, the government will be offering an additional extension of funding to purchase eligible services and supports parents feel are most appropriate for their children as the province continues to implement a needs-based autism program. Further details about eligibility and how to apply for the extension of funding will be shared in the coming weeks.

“Providing core clinical services is a critical step forward in the development of a needs-based autism program designed by the community for the community” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and MPP for Bay of Quinte. “We are determined to get this right so more children than ever before can receive the appropriate level of support they need close to home.”

The ministry has asked the Child and Parent Resource Institute to oversee the launch of core clinical services. Beginning this month, care coordinators will be trained to conduct and guide families through the new determination of needs process that will include:

  • meeting with a family to identify a child's goals, strengths and support needs across key domains
  • allocating funding to families so they can purchase core clinical services from providers of their choice
  • supporting families with next steps to access core clinical services of their choice

Starting in March, about 600 children and youth from across the province who are registered in the Ontario Autism Program will be invited to participate in the launch of core clinical services. Once families have received their funding allocation, they will then work directly with a clinician of their choice to develop treatment options and plans for their child. The feedback from families on their experience will be critical in helping the province evaluate and refine delivery of the program.

Additionally, families will benefit from:

  • Renewal of interim funding: Eligible families who received a childhood budget or interim one-time funding will be offered additional payments of either $5,000 or $20,000, based on their child's age, to purchase eligible services and supports they feel are most appropriate for their child.
  • Urgent response services: Initiating a community-based proposal process to identify organizations in the sector to deliver urgent response services. These services will provide a timely, rapid response to a specific, identified need to prevent further escalation.
  • A $3.8 million additional investment in diagnostic hubs to improve families' access to an assessment for their child by reducing waitlists and wait times, resulting in families being able to register for the Ontario Autism Program and access services as quickly as possible.
  • Increased oversight of clinicians providing applied behaviour analysis (ABA) therapy in Ontario. The government will introduce legislation to regulate ABA as a new profession under the College of Psychologists of Ontario, beginning with applied behaviour analysts in supervisory and assessment-focused roles.
“We are incredibly proud of the extensive work that has gone into developing these key elements of our needs-based and family-centred Ontario Autism Program, which we will continue to evaluate on an ongoing basis," said Minister Smith. "It's important that we are responsive to the individual needs of children and youth and that their families are supported every step of the way.”
Quick Facts
  • The government launched foundational family services, such as family and peer mentoring, caregiver workshops and coaching, in August 2020 as part of Ontario’s needs-based Ontario Autism Program.
  • Several selection processes are currently underway to select organizations that will deliver services that will be part of the new needs-based Ontario Autism Program, including for the Independent Intake Organization and the caregiver-mediated early years programs.
  • In July 2019, the Ontario Autism Program budget was increased from approximately $300 million to $600 million annually to help ensure it is both needs-based and sustainable moving forward

Additional Resources