Huntsville’s Hospital Retention committee is doing some really impressive work. So impressive, in fact, that it’s hard to believe the committee is made up of laypeople in the community and not healthcare administrators.
Appearing at Huntsville’s Regular Council meeting in December, Rob Alexander and Sven Miglin, chair and vice chair of the retention committee, highlighted for council the work the committee has been doing.
MAHC proposal won’t get provincial support
Paramount in their report is the belief that the plan being touted by Muskoka Algonquin Health Care (MAHC), recommending the building of one new hospital to service the District at a cost of $349 million, is far too expensive to be accepted by the Province.
A survey of provincially approved healthcare projects, conducted by the committee with the help of their consultants, revealed that the only large capital projects being approved are the ones focused on areas with the largest population growth, typically in large urban centers.
Comparing communities similar to Huntsville the committee found the funding amounts to be a lot smaller.
We found a few examples of projects for new builds that were rejected or, worse, sat in the queue for up to six years with no official feedback. Those that have been approved or have received favorable feedback tended to be much smaller from both an aggregate amount and on a per bed basis.Hospital retention committee report
Based on the quantitative evidence, the committee is of the opinion that the pre-capital submission made by MAHC is too expensive and unlikely to be approved. (Click here to see a PDF of the full report.)
A better approach is redevelopment of both existing sites
Instead, the committee suggests redeveloping the existing hospital sites using a wrap-around building approach in redevelopment: building new facilities around the current hospital but without attaching the facilities so that current operations are not disrupted and air systems are not integrated which could lead to infectious disease issues. Using this approach they predict they could reduce the cost to build per square foot from the $1113 projection contained in the MAHC pre-submission to $400-$500.
Our rough estimate is that there is about $75 to $125 million in savings that we want to pursue.Sven Miglin, hospital retention committee vice chair
In redeveloping the two existing sites, the committee is recommending a ‘campus of care’ approach to healthcare delivery in Muskoka. The committee defines the campus of care as having multiple healthcare providers co-located on one contiguous site. Many campuses include long-term care, ambulatory care, counselling, chronic care, community health, and primary care on one site.
The advantages of this approach are many, said Miglin. There are opportunities to share costs and health care professionals, lower travel costs, and provide better access to care.
By bringing everything related to healthcare together you make it better for patients, better for people visiting them, better for doctors. You can share a lot of costs.Sven Miglin, committee vice chair
Fairvern needs to be included
There are things the Town could be doing right now to help their situation, Miglin told council. The redevolpment of Fairvern Nursing Home on the hospital site is a vital piece of the campus care puzzle.
Fairvern is important in this but we are on different timetables. In 2016 they need to be site specific about where they are going. Council needs to facilitate the redevelopment of Fairvern for the campus of care.Sven Miglin committee vice chair
Upgrade water and sewer facilities and utilize right of way for better access
Alexander had some homework assignments for councillors.
He encouraged them to start working with the District to upgrade the water and sewer services to the hospital site.
As well, he said, the committee has identified an existing right of way from Hwy 60 to the hospital that would improve access and shave three minutes off emergency response time. “To the extent that we have that road, it saves three minutes and puts our site in better stead when considering where to put it in Muskoka.”
The Huntsville Hospital retention committee continues to work with the Task Force and a discussion about the campus of care model is on the agenda for January’s meeting.