Hospital board endorses recommendation for two acute-care sites


Following final deliberations, the Board of Directors for Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) has endorsed the Capital Plan Development Task Force recommendation for a Two Acute Sites service delivery model for the future.

“The Task Force has demonstrated to the Board that the Two Acute Sites model best meets the needs of today and the future,” says Phil Matthews, Board Chair. “The Board is pleased to bring closure to the burning question on everyone’s mind – one site or two – and supports moving the recommendation for the Two Acute Sites model forward.”

The Task Force Chair and Vice Chair presented the Two Acute Sites preferred service delivery model recommendation at a special Board meeting on August 8, supported by the findings of a 30-plus page report resulting from nearly two dozen Task Force meetings, essential studies and reports, and countless stakeholder engagement opportunities over the past year. Click here for more.

“I want to thank the 25 Task Force members for their commitment to the tremendous amount of work done, and to everyone beyond our table who participated and provided input over the past year,” says Task Force Chair Cameron Renwick. “The Task Force listened to the people, and we heard your feedback.”

The Board has been equally diligent as partners throughout the process, from ensuring the Task Force’s inclusive membership represented broad perspectives of MAHC’s catchment area, to keeping abreast of information from the Task Force over the past year, monitoring the work as it progressed, and listening to stakeholder feedback through various interactive consultations that shaped the final recommendation.

“The Board has been supportive of the work from the beginning, giving the Task Force the time it needed to do the best job possible. The work has been thorough with no stone left unturned,” says Matthews. “At the end of its deliberations, the Board was satisfied that the Task Force followed a sound process to comprehensively review all possible models against objective evaluation criteria based on the best information and data currently available.”

The Two Acute Sites model has ultimately been selected because it will continue to provide high-quality acute care services that people can access closer to home with reasonable travel times, is flexible enough to accommodate future needs, and is supported by the greater community.

Two Acute Sites is now the vision for the future, replacing the 2015 recommendation for one hospital, but it is recognized that how the services will be arranged in the Two Acute Site model will continue to be evaluated at each stage of planning and refreshed to meet evolving technology, best practice, system integration and community needs.

Press Release from MAHC Board of Directors

“After more extensive consultation and study through this stage of planning, we learned that based on currently projected land-use planning requirements a central location would not be feasible from a land-use planning perspective. The Board also continues to acknowledge the importance of travel times and access to care when selecting the model, as well as community and municipal support that is necessary for funding the local share,” says Matthews. “We hope that this decision to support a Two Acute Sites model is one that everyone can truly get behind, so that together we can sustain the needs of our two sites, and convince the Ministry that a two-site hospital is what Muskoka and East Parry Sound needs and deserves in the future.”

The Board’s decision represents a major milestone and the halfway mark in MAHC’s Stage 1 planning. The Two Acute Sites service delivery model recommendation will be formalized through a Part A submission to the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN that outlines the programs and services envisioned in the future, and expanded with the addition of inpatient beds, and a proposed stroke rehabilitation unit and MRI technology.

The Board’s support of the service delivery model paves the way for the Task Force to move to Part B of the Stage 1 process to begin to concentrate on the physical design of the Two Acute Sites model, the infrastructure approach (new build, renovation, or a combination of both), the siting, and the potential for phasing the project. Part B also requires a fundraising plan of how we will pay for the local share of the redevelopment.

Once both parts of the Stage 1 Proposal are complete next year, the Two Acute Sites plan goes to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for approval to continue on to the next stage in the lengthy capital planning process.

“Our work is not over yet and Part B will continue to involve key stakeholders as well as the community at large,” says Renwick.

Chief Executive Officer Natalie Bubela reminds the community that investments in our buildings and medical equipment needs are significant today and will continue while the future planning work gets more refined over the next several years.

“Millions of dollars in infrastructure investments are needed today just to keep the two sites operating, and we rely on community donations to fund the equipment, technology and building upgrades that ensure safe, high-quality care for everyone we serve,” says Bubela. “A defined plan for hospital care for future generations is critical to ensuring infrastructure investments are tailored so they best support the overall capital plan. Please consider our Foundations and Auxiliaries in your charitable giving and show your support for our two-site hospital now and in the future.”

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  1. A wise decision has been made. Now we need politicians to make the necessary changes to the provincial funding formula to adequately fund medium-sized hospitals such as ours.

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