Weekly Update: Explaining Local Health System Plans in More Detail

April 12, 2024


Earlier this week, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) announced updates to our evolving proposal for the new hospital developments in Bracebridge and Huntsville following productive discussions with our physicians. As we prepare to advance into the next phase of engagement, it has become clear that we need to enhance our communication about the actual details of the proposal and the significant benefits it brings to our community.

Today’s update aims to clarify and underscore the advantages of our updated planned developments as we seek additional feedback in discussion with our partners and communities.

The Latest Model for MAHC Site Redevelopment – what’s Included at each hospital:

Bracebridge Hospital

Vision: an expanded, fully functional, new hospital with expanded capabilities over the
current model, and the region’s home for cancer care, specialty clinics, and much more.

Bracebridge Hospital TodayFuture State
2 Operating Rooms
1 Endoscopy Suite
1 Urology Room
2 Operating Rooms
2 Endoscopy Suites
1 Therapeutic Endoscopy Suite
2 Procedure Rooms
1 Surgical Clinic
1 Obstetrics (LDRP)
Medical Day Clinic
Inpatient Care: 67 beds
Average # occupied by ALC patients: 28 and
10-15 additional patients at risk for ALC
(Please note all ALC and ALC risk patients
would be addressed at Huntsville in the
new hospitals)
Inpatient Care: Total 36 beds
Average # occupied by ALC patients: 0
Beds include:
32 Medical/Surgical
Includes 1 Obstetrics bed + supports
Also 4 Level 2 ICU beds
11 Emergency Room bays
22,000 Emergency visits
27 Emergency Room bays, with enhanced
mental health capacity
24,000 Emergency visits
36,800 Diagnostic Imaging Procedures
0 Chemotherapy Visits
3,900 Surgical/Procedural Visits
– General Surgery
– Plastics
– Gynaecology
– Urology
89,500 Diagnostic Imaging Procedures
11,000 Chemotherapy Visits
9,700 Scheduled Surgical/Procedural Visits
– General Surgery
– Plastics
– Gynaecology
– Urology
– Cataracts
– Ear, Nose and Throat
– On-Call Emergency surgeries (incl. C-
– Orthopaedic Joint Replacements+

Huntsville Hospital

Vision: also an expanded, fully functional new hospital, and the region’s home for more
highly acute and complex patients, as well as patients awaiting recovery and treatment in
other settings (ALC patients).

Huntsville Hospital TodayFuture State
Inpatient Care: 56 beds
– 38 Medical/Surgical
– 10 Rehabilitation
– 6 Level 2 ICU
– 2 Obstetrics
Inpatient Care: Total 121 beds
– 58 Medical/Surgical
– 37 Reactivation
– 14 Acute Rehabilitation
– 10 Level 3 ICU
– 2 Obstetrics + 1 procedure/
assessment room
16 Emergency Room bays, with enhanced
mental health capacity
21,500 Emergency visits
27 Emergency Room bays, with enhanced
mental health capacity
24,500 Emergency visits (FY 2031-32)
2 Operating Rooms2 Operating Rooms
41,000 Diagnostic Imaging Procedures
3,500 Dialysis Visits
29,000 Diagnostic Imaging Procedures
4,600 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs)
4,500 Dialysis Visits
4,400 Surgical/Procedural Visits
– General Surgery
– Cataracts
– Ear, Nose and Throat
– Minor Orthopaedic Procedures
– Plastics
800 Surgical/Procedural Visits
– Surgeries requiring inpatient stay
– Same-day scheduled surgeries
– On-Call Emergency surgeries

These visual representations will help the reader see the expansive growth in facilities and services that will be available to our communities.

It’s important to understand that our goal is not merely to build two separate hospitals but to create an integrated healthcare system designed to serve the entire region effectively. This approach reduces duplication and increases specialization, providing more comprehensive care:

Highlights of the New Developments include:

  • Both hospitals will significantly increase in size, with an estimated 80% growth in square footage.
  • Emergency departments will be expanded substantially in terms of treatment spaces available, featuring enhanced mental health care facilities, and the benefit of much more treatment space for slightly higher volumes.
  • Introduction of specialized clinics for women’s health and seniors’ health.
  • Dramatic improvements in diagnostic imaging and procedural capabilities.
  • A Level 3 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) will be established, allowing more patients to receive the most complex critical care close to home, as well as taking in the sickest patients from across a broader region than before.
  • Increase of 34 acute beds total, a massive increase in patient care areas.
  • With the latest changes, up to 95% of acute care patients will receive treatment and admission at the hospital nearest to them. Patients that have needs that can only be met outside of their community or no longer require acute care may be transferred to appropriate setting to provide their specialized care.
  • ALC patients will be handled exclusively at the Huntsville site, with additional supports like rehab to ensure smooth transitions to the appropriate level of care.

The redevelopment of the Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare system is designed to meet the diverse healthcare needs of our entire region, not just individual communities. MAHC serves a community much larger than Muskoka. Our catchment area stretches north to Sundridge, south to Severn Bridge, west toward Parry Sound and east to the Algonquin Highlands. The new hospitals will specialize in different services so that as a whole the region actually has more and better services. The model offers major improvements over our current hospital sites for quality of care, with large benefits of more specialized and expanded services. These improvements also pave the way for enhanced recruitment, as we seek to attract more physicians, nurses, and other allied health and support team members to our communities.

The proposal also avoids the costly duplication of services across the two sites, which would significantly drive up expenses. In the same budget, two equally sized hospitals would be smaller, and would have less services because of duplication. By strategically allocating specific services to each hospital, we can invest more effectively in advanced technologies and specialized care facilities. This strategic differentiation ensures that we make the most of our substantial investment, providing comprehensive, efficient, and high-quality healthcare across the region, tailored to the needs of all communities we serve.

Cheryl Harrison, President and CEO of MAHC, invites the community to become more involved: “We encourage everyone to engage with us and discover the numerous positives our new healthcare model offers. There is much to learn and many benefits that our revamped facilities will bring to the region. Please keep an eye on our website for new materials and coming engagement opportunities that will provide further details on these exciting developments.”

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:

  • Our plans will continue to evolve until the submission to the Ontario government, following the required process. The final configuration of the health system will be subject to approval by the government. In the meantime, we will keep our communities up to date about our work.
  • We are continuing 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.

Contact Information:
Bobbie Clark (she/her)
Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations
T: 705.789.2311 x 2711
E: bobbie.clark@mahc.ca