Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare Moves Forward With Hospital Redevelopment


Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is moving forward, by giving direction to its expert healthcare planning consultants to proceed with detailed planning for the redevelopment of its hospital sites in Bracebridge and Huntsville following unanimous approval by the board of directors on July 2, 2024.

This decision directs the hospital planning team to refine and elaborate on the redevelopment plan, ensuring it comprehensively meets community healthcare needs. This step is crucial for the hospital to submit the final Stage 1.3 proposal in the upcoming fall of 2024. It ensures that the hospital can adhere to timelines and secure its place in the provincial hospital redevelopment queue.

“This step is a testament to our commitment to superior healthcare and responsiveness to community feedback”, said Cheryl Harrison, CEO of MAHC. “Our collaborative efforts continue as we refine our plans for the submission to the Ministry of Health in November 2024.”

Following a robust discussion, the board approved advancing both formal, detailed planning and documentation for the Stage 1.3 Submission to the Ministry of Health, based on the current proposed model. Also approved was the direction to continue collaborating with consultants and stakeholders to address flexible space, future capacity planning, and key project success factors identified in the board package report.

An addendum was made to the motion to direct the MAHC Board Capital Redevelopment Steering Committee to collaborate closely with staff in developing a process that addresses key issues such as bed capacity, transportation, and community service integration. This collaborative effort includes consultations with physicians from the credentialed staff association and the medical advisory committee, and community partners.

The board’s approval allows consultants to start detailed planning, laying essential groundwork for future phases. At this point, the planning team will not submit materials to the ministry, rather resources are allocated for additional background work. This phase requires continuous dialogue with stakeholders and contingency planning for bed capacity, transportation and community service planning which is crucial for the project’s success and essential for the Ministry submission in the fall.

“We are confident in moving forward with the currently proposed plan, which is rooted in a commitment to quality patient care,” said new Board Chair Dave Uffelmann. “Ongoing engagement will continue to address concerns and ensure that all stakeholders’ perspectives are considered and incorporated into the planning process”.

Designed to be interdependent, the two new hospitals will have distinct and complementary services that prioritize quality care and emphasize benefits such as reducing out-of-region transfers and ensuring timely patient returns home. Aligned with stakeholder priorities, enhancements include expanding acute care beds at the Bracebridge site, maintaining a Level 2 ICU in Bracebridge, and continuing obstetrical services at both locations. Plans also include enlarging the combined square footage of the two hospital sites by 80 per cent, doubling emergency department sizes to 27 treatment bays at both hospitals, developing a new Level 3 ICU, and creating Reactivation and Rehabilitation Units to advance quality care locally.

Chief of Staff Dr. Khaled Abdel-Razek remarked, “This step forward signifies our commitment to advancing healthcare services in Muskoka. We are dedicated to shaping a sustainable healthcare future that prioritizes the well-being of our community.”

With a catchment area extending south to Severn Bridge, north to Sundridge, west to Parry Sound, and east to Haliburton, MAHC emphasizes that, though the hospitals will be located in the towns of Bracebridge and Huntsville, they are designed to serve the entirety of Muskoka and surrounding regions.

While today marks an important step in the capital planning process, ongoing dialogue with stakeholders ensures final plans reflect the needs of all residents. MAHC remains steadfast in enhancing local healthcare services, securing a brighter, healthier future for all residents.


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