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North East LHIN gets failing grade from auditor general

The auditor general says the North East Local Health Integration Network met only four of the 15 targets set out by the Ministry of Health last year.

Report places North East LHIN at bottom of the list in terms of performance

Nipissing MPP Victor Fedeli says the North East LHIN "should be ashamed" of how few of the health care targets it meets. (Michelle Siu/The Canadian Press)
Northeastern Ontario's LHIN is ranked as one of the worst in the province for its performance, according to Ontario's auditor general. Northeast LHIN executive director Louise Paquette gave us her take on the ranking. 7:50

The North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is failing to address northern Ontario's health-care needs, according to a new report by the auditor general.

LHINs are mandated by the provincial government to control health care dollars in different regions of Ontario, including hospitals and long-term care homes. 

The North East LHIN employs 40 staff and has an operating budget of $5 million a year for administration costs.

The auditor general's report found the North East LHIN met only four of the 15 targets set out by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care last year. That is the lowest number of any of the province's 14 LHINs.

'Pure ineptness' says Nipissing MPP

"It's pure ineptness of the North East LHIN," said Nipissing Progressive-Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli. "This is nothing new. They should be ashamed." 

Amongst its shortcomings, the North East LHIN had the second longest wait time for home care, with a wait of 11 weeks, nearly triple the provincial average.

It also has the second highest hospital readmission rate with 19 per cent of patients with complex illnesses, like stroke and cardiac disorders, returning to hospital within 30 days.

The North East LHIN has the highest percentage of patients who stay in hospital because they cannot get health care elsewhere.

"The sad point for the people of Ontario, and northeastern Ontario especially, is the ministry does not hold the LHINs accountable for missing any of those targets," Fedeli said.

LHIN says numbers 'don't tell full story'

The North East LHIN's executive director, Louise Paquette, said she doesn't believe the organization is failing to meet standards.

"Sometimes when you roll up numbers, they may not tell the full story," Paquette said. "You get a little bit of fruit salad instead of apples to apples."

Paquette points to the region's improved access to hip and knee surgery.

The auditor general surveyed health care providers and found that only one in five think the LHINs are accomplishing what they're meant to do.

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