Value of LHINs


What is North West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)?

The North West LHIN is a non-profit organization established in June 2005. It is a crown agency that reports to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and one of 14 LHINs in Ontario. The Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 (Act) and Patients First Act, 2016, delegate authority to LHINs to achieve an integrated health system and enable local communities to make decisions about their local health systems.

Extending from Hudson Bay in the North to the United States border in the south, and from the Manitoba border in the west to just short of White River in the east, the communities of the North West LHIN are spread across 458,010 square kilometres.

What is the role of the North West LHIN?

The North West LHIN is responsible for planning, funding and integrating local health services. With the advancement of the provincial Patients First strategy, the North West LHIN received a new mandate and accepted responsibility for the home and community care services and programs on June 21, 2017, that were formerly delivered by the North West Community Care Access Centre. 

The North West LHIN and its Board of Directors are responsible for more than $650 million of health care services delivered through LHIN-funded health service providers in Northwestern Ontario. 

How is the North West LHIN making health care better?

The North West LHIN is responsible for managing the local health system to ensure that services are integrated and coordinated. It eases the flow of patients across the health care system and improve their access to services in their community. The North West LHIN also plans and allocates resources through an accountability framework to ensure better access to health care services.

LHINs bring about more community input into local health care decisions and 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 locally, 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.

How are people in Northwestern Ontario involved in planning their health care?

The people in Northwestern Ontario, including LHIN-funded health service providers, have a voice in identifying the priorities for health care through community engagement activities. The North West LHIN then determines locally how to most effectively address the health of the population, improve access to care, improve the care experience and best use available resources to meet the health care needs of our population. An evidence-based decision making and priority setting framework helps us ensure that the right decisions are made and there is value for the investments made.

What is the value of LHINs?

LHINs are the only organizations in Ontario that bring together health care partners from the following  sectors – hospitals, community support service agencies, community mental health and addictions, community health centres and long-term care – to develop innovative, collaborative solutions leading to more timely access to high quality services for the residents of Ontario.

By supporting these important partnerships, the North West LHIN can ensure that people of this region have access to an effective and efficient health care system that delivers improved health care results and a better patient experience.

The North West LHIN focuses on population health planning at the local level to ensure that services reflect the unique needs of patients and communities to improve health outcomes for the people of Northwestern Ontario. Health system partners have been working in this way for many years in the Northwest as they have worked to advance the Health Services Blueprint, Health Links and many other initiatives that bring partners together, across sectors to focus on patient-centred care. 

The North West LHIN also brings a consistent and unique local voice to the provincial planning table.


How does the North West LHIN report back to the government?

The North West LHIN has a formal accountability agreement with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for funding of the local health system and a responsibility to report on its performance. In turn, the North West LHIN holds accountability agreements with hospitals, long-term care homes, community health centres, mental health and addictions agencies, and other community support services. To this end, health service providers are being held accountable for the taxpayer dollars they are given.


What is the relationship between the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, LHINs and health service providers?

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care plays a “stewardship” role in the health care system. They set provincial standards, policy, and provincial strategic directions. The Minister of Health and Long Term Care announced Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care in February 2015 which highlights four key priorities – Access, Connect, Inform and Protect. The Patients First Act, 2016, was passed on December 7, 2016, and was an important step forward in the Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care.The LHIN Board of Directors through extensive community engagement identifies local strategic directions, aligned with the provincial priorities and sets the course for the development of the region’s Integrated Health Service Plan (IHSP), which covers a 3 year period.

The North West LHIN has begun preparation for the 5th Integrated Health Service Plan (2019-2022).