Ontario Health-Care Reform and Community Health Centres

Letter to the Editor, January 7, 2017


Re: Too Many Left Behind in Health Care Reforms, Tara Kiran, January 1, 2017

Dr. Tara Kiran draws attention to those left behind by Ontario’s health-care reforms, especially the poor and newer immigrants in urban areas. She also very correctly notes that primary health care is about much more than treating acute illness.

However, she fails to mention that we already have a working model of primary care that targets these populations and that is very good at dealing with complex needs and providing holistic care. Community Health Centres (CHCs) have been in existence for decades all over Canada, providing care to communities that are not well served by other models of primary care.

CHCs have operated on a collaborative health team model, with doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers and community workers working together to meet patients’ needs. CHCs also host many programs that enhance the health of individuals in the community.

CHCs already exist and they are a proven success. Increasing their number and expanding their reach is arguably the best model for providing primary care, especially for underserviced communities. Why re-invent the wheel?

Miriam Garfinkle