Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs)? 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 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 the principle that community-based care is best planned, coordinated and funded within the local community because local people know their health service needs and priorities best. LHINs work with local health providers and community members to develop an integrated health service plan for their local area. They are responsible for funding and ensuring accountability of local health services providers.
2. What programs and services are LHINs be responsible for?
LHINs have responsibility for:
- Public and private hospitals
- Community Care Access Centres
- Community support service organizations
- Mental health and addiction agencies
- Community Health Centres
- Long-Term Care Homes
3. Do LHINs reduce health service costs?
LHINs improve the way health services are planned and delivered at the local level across the province so that patients get the services they need. LHINs also lead to a more efficient and accountable health system and provide better value for investment in health services.
4. What do LHINs mean to patients?
Patients benefit by having health service decisions affecting them made by people in their community, who understand the needs of the community.
LHINs help ensure that patients have better access to coordinated and integrated health services, through coordinated planning and improved communication among providers.
5. How do LHINs make health care better in communities across Ontario?
LHINs are responsible for ensuring that local services are integrated and coordinated. They ease the flow of patients across the health care system and improve their access to services in their community. They also 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 region.
6. Are meetings of the LHIN be open to the public?
All Board of Directors meetings are open to the public. Date, time and location of each meeting is posted on the website.
7. Can the South West LHIN be able to make decisions to close hospitals?
No, LHINs do not have the authority to direct amalgamations, to direct changes to provider boards or to direct service providers to close or cease their corporate operations.
8. Does this mean that services will move from hospitals in smaller communities to hospitals in major centres?
Services provided in each LHIN are based on the local characteristics and needs of the community. LHINs have the flexibility to address unique local population health needs and priorities, without compromising the quality, access, or the efficiency of health services.
9. Do I have to get health services from the LHIN in which I live?
No. LHIN boundaries are for management and administrative purposes only.
10. Are LHINs a move to expand privatization in health care?
No. The LHINs are about providing better health care to the people of Ontario by doing some things differently than in the past– like involving communities in important health care decisions. LHINs play an important role in ensuring that patients have better access to coordinated and integrated services. The legislation creating LHINs prohibits private payments for services that result from an integration decision, unless the payment is permitted by law. Moreover, the Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act preserves the public health care system in Ontario.
11. Does the legislation give the South West LHINs the power to override collective agreements?
The legislation provides for the application of a special labour law to deal with labour relations issues that arise following any integration. This gives employees, and their representatives rights at the new employer and establishes processes for resolving any issues.
12. How independent is the South West LHIN? Does it have to report back to the ministry?
The government is ultimately responsible for providing Ontarians with high quality, accessible health care services. The Ministry continues to set the principles, goals, and baseline requirements for all LHINs to ensure that all Ontarians have access to a consistent set of health care services when they need them, regardless of what LHIN they reside in. At the same time, LHINs have the flexibility to address unique local population health needs and priorities.
To view the LHIN Myths & Facts document, please click here.