Timely Access to Care Through the Patient’s Medical Home
Action 1.1: Standardizing the PMH vision across Canada and supporting reforms through a primary health care transition fund
From 2000 to 2007 the Primary Health Care Transition Fund (PHCTF), initiated under the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien, contributed $800 million to support various initiatives such as collaborative team development, chronic disease management, information technology development (including telehealth and electronic medical records), and enhanced access hours up to 24/7. At this time the Liberal Party has not offered any support for a renewal of the PHCTF, however, recent announcements contained commitment to improve access to family physicians, specifically through interprofessional team approach.
Action 1.2: Adopting the PMH vision in all areas of federal health care delivery
During the Liberals’ most recent term in office (2015–2019) some federal agencies such as the Canadian Armed Forces and the Correctional Service of Canada have enhanced the integrated delivery of health care services for populations in their care. However, no specific commitments to strengthening primary care delivery have been made as part of the current campaign.
Integrating Mental Health Into Primary Care
Action 2.1: Integrating accessible mental health services as part of primary care practices
In August 2017 the Liberal government signed a series of bilateral agreements with provinces and territories based on a Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities. Among those priorities is a clear commitment to improve access to mental health and addiction services. Budget 2017 confirmed an investment of $5 billion over 10 years in this area. More information is needed on how the Liberal Party supports the integration of mental health services as part of primary care, specifically on how improvements enabled by this investment will be measured. The Liberal Party platform suggests further work to set “clear national standards for access to mental health services” is a priority.
Action 2.2: Supporting and adopting the principle of mental health parity through a mental health parity act
The Liberal Party supports the inclusion of mental health services within medicare and the Canada Health Act. The party also supports the establishment of a universal system of effective mental health programs and services as a component of Canada’s health care system. However, no specifics have been made available thus far about the adoption of a mental health parity act.
Universal National Pharmacare
Action 3.1: Introducing a universal, single-payer, national pharmacare program
The Liberal Party has formed and enabled the work of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. The Liberal Party’s health platform has included specific steps that will build a foundation for the eventual establishment of a national, universal pharmacare system. Greater clarity on how these steps and the eventual system will be funded is useful.