During the 90s, following the announcement of the possible creation of new Community Health Centres (CHC) in the province in the years to come, the francophone community of the area took action and submitted a first request regarding the acquisition of a CHC in the Sudbury East area. This request was not successful.
In 1999, two nurse practitioners took root in the Sudbury East area in order to establish a nursing clinic under the supervision of the Centre de santé communautaire de Sudbury. Recognizing the extent to which primary health care services were needed in the area and the imminent departure (upon retirement) of the only physicians established in the region, these two individuals discussed with the community the possibility of establishing a new CHC in the area. A second request was sent in 2001; once again, the proposal didn’t generate the desired response.
A group of people were hired to implement all the elements required to produce a favorable response from the government. Finally, a promise was received from the three municipalities that would eventually be serviced (Markstay-Warren, St. Charles and French River) to build a structure in their respective areas to house CHC points of service.
The municipality of St. Charles, anticipating the creation of a CHC, decided to convert an existing building into a multiservice centre welcoming the nurse practitioners that would soon become the core of the SECHC team.
In 2003, the request was revisited and was once more submitted. Anticipating a favorable response, the organization was formally incorporated. Unfortunately, the request was not successful under the first wave of CHC implementations in the province.
In early 2005, the group persisted; anticipating the creation of a number of Family Health Teams (FHT) in the province, the request was once more reviewed in order to meet the criteria of this type of clinic. While examining this request, the Ministry of Health realized that the region’s need for a CHC was greater than that of a FHT; in 2005, after a fifth request, it was finally announced that Sudbury East would receive the funding required for the establishment of a CHC in 2007.
In April 2007, the nursing clinic officially became the Sudbury East Community Health Centre and in August, it hired its first executive director.
The Sudbury East Community Health Centre is one of 73 health centres in Ontario. It is the only Francophone provider of health services in the region of Sudbury East that serves the community in both official languages.
It is managed by a board of directors comprised of nine (9) representatives from the Francophone community (three for French River, three for St. Charles and three for Markstay-Warren). Approximately 90% of its funding comes from the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) via an accountability agreement. The rest of its funding comes from a variety of projects and fundraisers.
The Sudbury East Community Health Centre (SECHC) is a non-profit organization that offers easy access to a comprehensive range of client-oriented programs and services.
Physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, mental health workers, dieticians, health promoters and other professionals work under one roof as part of an interprofessional team that offers essential health care services.
The SECHC offers individualized care based on the needs of the client and the community. The programs aim to reduce the root causes of diseases and injuries through its integrated preventative elements.
The SECHC is particularly successful at increasing access to care in the communities that have traditionally struggled to receive the necessary programs and services to keep its citizens healthy. These communities include minority linguistic and cultural groups, people living in remote or under-served communities, low income citizens, the homeless and elderly people.
From April 2007 to September 2008, the SECHC was under the direction of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. In October 2008, the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) took over.
In April 2009, the Sudbury East Community Health Centre signed its first service accountability agreement (2009 to 2011) with the NE LHIN. In 2011, it signed its second agreement.
In September 2009, the team moved from its preliminary location to its new location in Noëlville at 44 St. Christophe Rd., a multiservice centre built by the Municipality of French River.
In the summer of 2011, the SEHCH team moved its offices to 39 Lafontaine, while the Municipality of Markstay-Warren would in turn, benefit from a multiservice centre.
The SECHC is part of a provincial group of community centres under the umbrella of the Association of Ontario Health Centres. The AOHC was officially incorporated November 30, 1982, but the idea and spirit that lead to its formation started long before. In fact, its formation was natural and inevitable. The AOHC came into being as programs and funding systems evolved to promote primary health care and health promotion programs in Ontario.
Health centres in Ontario have existed since the mid-70s. A notable exception to this is the Group Health Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, which opened earlier in 1962. In 1975, there was no distinction between Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Health Centres and Community Health Service Organizations (CHSOs). At that time, all centres were considered experimental pilot projects and the Ministry of Health funding was based on that premise. All centres were funded through capitation payment mechanisms. However, centres that were not considered financially viable were given a program budget with the intent to convert into capitation as soon as a centre achieved financial viability. The latter, now operating as CHCs, stayed with the program budget as the preferred way to fund the type of programs, operation and philosophy by which these centres delivered their programs and services.
Individuals representing a variety of “health centres” informally discussed the need to form an organization to enable them to address matters of mutual interest and concern. Committed to the concept of primary health care, representatives of health centres set up an association which, in their opinion, was “An Idea Whose Time Has Come” as highlighted by the same theme for the Association’s first Symposium and Meeting.
In 1982, then Minister of Health, Larry Grossman, announced that CHCs and CHSOs were no longer “experimental pilot projects” but would be a part of mainstream health care services. Targets were set for annual growth rates so that the CHC and CHSO component of the system would grow across the province. Minister Grossman also provided financial support for the creation and activities of the Association of Ontario Health Centres.
Under then Health Minister Murray Elston and Elinor Caplan, health centres began to thrive. In 1987, Premier David Peterson announced the government's intent to double within five years the number of Ontario residents receiving primary health care through alternative funding arrangements.
By November 30, 1989, 93.75% of the Premier's target had been achieved. Back in 1985 there were 11 CHCs in operation serving approximately 29,000 people. By March 31, 1990 there were 76 HSOs serving 450,000 people and 32 CHCs serving a population of 110,000.
In 1994, Ontario’s Auditor General posed questions about the CHC program in Ontario. It was decided that the province would freeze funding for the creation of new centres until CHCs were able to collect and submit data to demonstrate their purpose and effectiveness as a provincial program. Concurrently, AOHC had been working with member centres on evaluation assessments which produced five key themes on which the current Evaluation Framework is collecting data. This work is ongoing among all CHCs in partnership with AOHC and the Ministry of Health.
In 1997, Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHACs) began to join the Association. These centres are funded through the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy, which is a partnership among a number of Aboriginal Political Territorial Organizations, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, the Women's Directorate, and the Solicitor General's Office. AHACs were modeled after CHCs; however, they have made traditional healing practices an integral part of their work.
Early in 1999, satellites were funded in Chelmsford and Hanmer (Centre de santé communautaire de Sudbury) and Armstrong Health Clinic (Ogden-East End CHC). In May 1999, Minister of Health Elizabeth Witmer announced a lifting of the funding freeze. Soon after, two new CHCs and one satellite were announced, the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre, Grand Bend and Area Rural Community Primary Health Care Centre and Crysler, a satellite to Centre de santé communautaire de l'Estrie (Cornwall).
In April 2004 and November 2005, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recognized the tremendous achievements of CHCs and their critical role within the health system, announcing the largest ever expansion of the CHC program in the province’s history by announcing a total of 21 new CHCs and 28 new CHC satellites. As of 2010, there are 53 CHCs and 28 CHC satellites.
Since 2006 the Ministry also announced the creation of 200 Family Health Teams. After significant advocacy, the Government recognized community governed FHTs. Today we have 25 Community Family Health Teams in Ontario.
In 2009-10 the Government also announced 25 Nurse Practitioner clinics. To date one community governed NP Clinic has joined AOHC.