Hospital Care for Our Future Generations Planning Continues at MAHC

Posted on Friday July 07, 2017

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) has received the green light to proceed to Stage 1 Proposal planning, the next step in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s capital planning process. With the Ministry approval to proceed with planning, the Health Capital Investment Branch has awarded up to $1 million in planning grant funds to MAHC.

The Stage 1 Proposal will further explore and evaluate development options for a future model of hospital care. The work includes refreshing bed and service projections, further exploring potential capital development costs and local share fundraising, a human resources plan, and consideration of the use of or potential repurposing of the existing hospital sites.

“The Ministry’s grant demonstrates its support for our work to date and positions MAHC to move forward with more detailed planning and further analysis and consideration of the different models presented in the Pre-Capital Submission,” says Evelyn Brown, Chair of the Board of Directors. “The Board is excited to lead Muskoka and area through this next stage of future planning and looks forward to working collaboratively with key stakeholders to evolve and refine acute care development plans. By working together, we can develop the best proposal for acute care for Muskoka and area that is in line with the broader plans for person-centered primary care evolving from the Muskoka and Area Health System Transformation (MAHST) initiative.”

MAHC, in conjunction with MAHST and the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN, will be forming a Capital Plan Development Task Force dedicated to the Stage 1 work with broad membership including members of the MAHC Board, administration and medical staff, hospital foundations and auxiliaries, primary care, municipal representatives from the District of Muskoka, North and South Muskoka and East Parry Sound, MAHST, the NSM LHIN, and the greater Muskoka community. This new task force is a bold move by the MAHC Board to continue updating a plan for the future that is based on the most current information available, and inclusively engages the right people in the decision making and builds on the comprehensive work of MAHST on local health system transformation.

“We know that MAHC is one piece of a system approach to care in the region and the hospital is an active partner in an integrated model of care that puts patients first,” says Brown. “We also know that the local health care landscape is poised for change with the work of Muskoka and Area Health System Transformation (MAHST) to better integrate primary and community care. It only makes sense that representation from MAHST be part of the task force.”

MAHST Chair Don Mitchell agrees, noting continued collaboration is critical to moving the health system transformation agenda forward in Muskoka and area.

“On behalf of MAHST, I am pleased we are continuing this journey as a key stakeholder in the process,” says Don Mitchell. “MAHC’s new task force’s timeline dovetails perfectly with the timing of MAHST’s work to incorporate the outcomes of new system design into future acute care redevelopment plans.”

The MAHC Capital Plan Development Task Force will oversee the preparation of a Stage 1 Proposal in line with MAHST’s timeline to create and design a future model of acute care services by March 31, 2018, and recommend a preferred model for the future to the MAHC Board. Broad community engagement will be part of developing the Stage 1 plan. Once the Stage 1 plan is completed, it will be presented to the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN for review, and subsequently to the Ministry for approval to continue on to the next stage in the lengthy capital planning process.

“We see this as a win-win-win solution for the patient, the hospital and community care providers, and the municipalities that make up the communities we serve,” says Brown.

Visionary planning of this magnitude takes years to complete and the existing hospital sites will continue to be here for our residents, cottagers and visitors for years to come, adds Natalie Bubela, Chief Executive Officer at MAHC.

“It is so important that the Board is thinking today about what the future might look like 15 to 20 years down the road because in the meantime our buildings keep getting older and medical equipment will continually need to be replaced to keep pace with technology. Both hospital sites will continue to require significant investments to meet the evolving health care standards that ensure safe, high-quality care,” says Bubela. “We have millions in capital needs today that we rely on community donations to fund. The future is important and needs to be planned for, but supporting our current needs is equally important.”

For more information, please visit the Stage 1 Proposal web page within the Planning for the Future section of the MAHC website at www.mahc.ca/planning-for-the-future.