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New hospitals to provide 'a new approach to regional healthcare' - MAHC CEO
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New hospitals to provide 'a new approach to regional healthcare' - MAHC CEO

Posted: 2024-06-27 11:05:41 By: thebay

Huntsville General Committee was advised that the goal of the new hospitals will be to provide “a new approach to healthcare,” by Muskoka Algonquin Health Care (MAHC) CEO, Cheryl Harrison, in the June 26, 2024, meeting.

Harrison explained that the new aim will be a focus on services rather than bed counts. For instance, the Bracebridge facility will cover specialty cancer clinics, whereas Huntsville may have level 3 ICU and more beds.

Care will not be reliant on beds, but services explained Harrison. She said, “If we continue to do healthcare like today, we will never have enough beds.”

She explained that the future is to get patients better and healthier quicker using alternate levels of care, which will include the support of community and home programs to support healthcare needs. So, the model will reflect inpatient and outpatient care.

Some services will be provided by the Bracebridge facility, and others in Huntsville, to ensure maximum care is provided within the whole region and surrounding areas.

“Like two sides of a heart… They are so dependent on each other to continue to provide the services in our region,” said Harrison.

Coverage is expected to go as far south as Severn Bridge, Sundridge going north, and Parry Sound and Haliburton going west and east.

Mayor, Nancy Alcock, expressed appreciation about the ongoing community discussions. She added, “Ongoing consultation is incredibly important so that we get it right. Let’s make this opportunity happen. Let’s not miss this opportunity.”

She also expressed excitement about the double capacity that will exist in emergency services, and about the potential of the hospitals to recruit more doctors. “The sooner we move on this proposal and can get our submission in the better,” she said.

Harrison confirmed that they are halfway through the design process, however, are allowing room for flexibility moving forward. She added that 40 other municipalities are applying for the provincial funding as well, however, MAHC is expected to have their submission in by November.

One of the challenges is ensuring there is transportation available to the sites for patient loved ones, which is currently under consideration.

Councillor, Bob Stone, said, “I think it delivers everything that we hoped for… One hospital, two sites. They’re very different but equal.”

MACH Board Chair, David Uffelman, advised that it won’t be a “bricks and mortar” approach, but one that considers the whole population when it comes to access. “We’re able to put into place these sorts of specializations…a higher level of service for everybody.”

He added that community discussions have played a major role in the past six months. People are also more informed about alternative care, “from hospital, to home, to remote care.”

He suggested that “the rhetoric” will eventually shift to a more solution focused perspective regarding collectively solving problems surrounding primary care.

Harrison added that the primary focus is “quality of healthcare…patient care and safety.”

Alcock added, “It’s a new way of thinking. We don’t want to keep people in the hospital… We want to rehabilitate and reactivate.”