Province needs to step in and take control of hospital board and strategic planning ~ Opinion


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.

Respectfully submitted,
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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  1. Someone finally gets it. Bravo. It seems that the Hospital Board, as many do, have no qualms about spending everyone else’s hard earned money.

  2. I will just add my bravo to the others. The board seems intent on doing what it wants regardless of the communities’ desires.

  3. Well written comment. Thanks for saying what’s on everyone’s mind. And the members of the MAHC should be ashamed for not listening to the people they are accountable to.

  4. We do not have two acute care hospitals.

    Ever since the amalgamation several years ago, we have had one hospital organization, with two buildings.

    Our one acute care hospital is called Muskoka Algonquin Health Care and consists of two buildings on two sites under one administration.

    The community seemed to be unaware of the consequences of the amalgamation at the time that it happened and it is unfortunate that they didn’t rally to oppose it at that time.

    The current board and administration does have the obligation to provide equitable healthcare to all those who live in the area, and they no doubt think that they are doing that, but I don’t think they are explaining the reasons for the direction they favour very well. They have fumbled the ball in that regard. I also think that the geographic location of any new one site, is crucial for acceptance by the population.

  5. John Rivière-Anderson on

    Michael Enright’s CBC (February 4, 2018, 8-9 am) Sunday Edition guest, Henry Mintzberg, author of Managing the Risks of Health Care, and world-recognised guru of the economics of the same, decries the myths of so-called economies of large scale and amalgamated facilities, and of the implementation of health care by (government) health care managers and “leaders”. Mintzberg repudiates decisions based on facile costs analysis alone, and proves that the more difficult determination of local benefits delivers the best health care for patients, who should never be considered as clients, but always as people. Mintzberg’s book is a must-read for all involved in health care and hospital planning in Muskoka.

  6. Well Written and thank you for expressing the opinion of many of Muskokans if not the majority. Thankfully some have come forward loudly.

  7. What can I add. I agree with everything.
    I especially like the concept of refusing to label people who use the hospital as “clients”.
    Trying to run a hospital like a factory just will never work right!
    Asking for 114 million now, before there is even agreement on the forward going process is not right either.
    And last, although as Jean Bagshow points out, we have only ONE administration, the MAHC, we sure as heck do have TWO hospitals. They are pretty solid looking buildings and about 30 miles apart, one being in Huntsville, and one in Bracebridge. In multiple surveys the people have said they want to keep both!!

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