We are alarmed to read the media article of January 25, 2018 about Muskoka Algonquin Health Care’s (MAHC) request to the Muskoka District for $114 million for future hospital funding. There is no apparent basis or justification for the $114M figure but, since MAHC suggests it is to “build a major asset we don’t have right now”, it is quite clear that this request is for a new hospital.
At its worst the request seriously undermines, and at its best blatantly circumvents, the deliberations and efforts of MAHC’s very own Capital Planning Task Force. They should resign en-masse in protest.
The request clearly flies in the face of numerous past public assurances from MAHC that: 1. It was open to changing its strident position that we need one new hospital; and 2. It would honour the choice of the communities that comprise the catchment areas.
These communities have consistently and overwhelmingly expressed a clear preference for retaining and upgrading their two existing acute-care hospitals. A MAHC request for any amount of health-care funding from District, let alone a $114M sum, is a request for the District to radically depart from generally accepted norms and demonstrates MAHC’s fundamental ignorance of, and/or a reckless disregard for the constitutional and traditional division of responsibility for the delivery of (and payment for) health care services in Canada as between federal, provincial, and municipal governments.
In effect, MAHC is asking taxpayers to pay for a health-care “Taj Mahal” while at the same time refusing to accede to, or listen to, or respect the demands of taxpayers who are adamant that they do NOT WANT a single new hospital, but DO WANT the two existing acute-care hospitals to be retained, recapitalized, and enhanced.
Since MAHC is neither listening to nor respecting the taxpayers in the communities, yet wants them to pay, it is clear that MAHC and its Board members not only do not represent the taxpayers but, worse, are not accountable to the taxpayers or to the communities they are supposed to serve. That being the case, to whom are they in fact accountable? Themselves?
The Province should immediately appoint a Supervisor to assume control of MAHC, to release the existing MAHC board, and take control of the hospital’s strategic planning processes. There is a need to restore responsibility and accountability to the hospital and to its stakeholders – the patients, the ratepayers and the communities it is intended to serve.
Dayle and Tom Pinckard, Dwight; John and Shirley Hanes, Port Cunnington; Michael and Susan Lowe, Huntsville; Joan and John Jerrett, Hillside.
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