MAHC Announces Changes to Future Hospital Plans

April 08, 2024

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) continues its important engagement and is updating the community on recent work with physicians and other team members resulting in changes to the proposal for new hospitals.

In the past two weeks, our healthcare planning consultants from Resource Planning Group (RPG) and Preyra Solutions Group (PSG) – national leaders in hospital planning – have worked intensively to respond to our direction to review and refine our redevelopment plan. Their recommendations aim to address critical concerns raised by stakeholders, ensuring our plan aligns even more closely with community needs.

To address key concerns, we’re excited to announce the following adjustments:

  • Expansion of Acute Care Beds at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital (SMMH) Site: We’ve enhanced plans to include more acute care beds at the SMMH site, meeting the growing demand for these services.
  • Preservation of Obstetrical Service at SMMH Site: Obstetrical services will remain at the SMMH site, supporting families expecting babies in our community.
  • Improved Patient Transportation Situation: The change in the number of beds at the SMMH site will mean less patients will require transportation.

Here are additional details about the recommended changes:

  • South Muskoka Memorial Hospital (SMMH) Bed Expansion: The total bed allocation at SMMH is increased to 36, which includes the crucial addition of 4 ICU beds to reduce the necessity for patient transfers.
  • Bracebridge Obstetrical Care: Incorporating one obstetrical labour and delivery room within the 36-bed framework at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital (SMMH) with the potential to use an additional Med/Surg room in overflow situation to support the Obstetrics program.
  • Bed Flexibility: In the next phase, per suggestion, we will explore the potential for using novel areas at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital (SMMH) for clinical evaluative purposes and bring more acute capacity to the site (if needed).
  • Alternate Level of Care (ALC) Inpatient Continuity at Huntsville District Memorial Hospital (HDMH) : The model reaffirms the commitment to meet Alternate Level of Care (ALC), as well as rehab, activation and stroke  inpatient requirements at HDMH.
  • Operational Efficiency: By aligning support services with clinical demands and refining surgical volume strategies, we bolster OR utilization, ensuring a lean, impactful operational model.

MAHC is now moving on to a deeper conversation with Physicians about making the revised plan work, before moving into further engagement with broader internal healthcare teams, the organization’s partners, and the broader community. MAHC will also be examining the impact on local and provincial government funding.

RPG Consultant’s Statement:

“After thorough analysis and engagement, it’s clear that the newly revised plan represents the maximum possible adjustments within the constraints we face. Any further shifts would render the model unsustainable and jeopardize the project’s viability, given the fiscal realities and Ministry guidelines.”

– Chuck Wertheimer, Senior Principal, RPG Consultants

A Word from Cheryl Harrison, MAHC President and CEO:

“We are heartened by the outcomes of our collaborative discussions and are now focusing on working with our internal healthcare teams to determine what supports are needed to optimize the new configuration. Today’s outcome sets the stage for subsequent discussions with our partners and the communities we serve, ensuring that our final model truly reflects the care expectations and needs of our region.”

What’s Next

MAHC is dedicated to a transparent, inclusive process as we move to the next steps of engagement and refine the new healthcare model:

  • We are completing another round of engagement with Physicians through each department head (Emergency, Surgery, Obstetrics, etc.) to determine the specific supporting needs to make the model work
  • Healthcare team engagement in the hospital will commence in the next few weeks
  • We will also be engaging our partner organizations
  • Broader community engagement is planned to begin before the Summer.

Further updates will be shared as we progress in our commitment to providing exceptional care in all our communities.