MAHC Provides an Update on Physician Engagement and Stakeholder Feedback

May 10, 2024

Muskoka, Ontario — Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) continues to make strides in the redevelopment and expansion of healthcare in the Muskoka region. These efforts are supported by ongoing discussions with physicians and extensive stakeholder feedback, focusing on enhancing healthcare delivery across our communities.

In recent engagements, MAHC has noted a positive direction in gaining endorsement from Muskoka physicians regarding the dual-site healthcare system. Though there are some South Muskoka physicians who remain opposed to the plan, this design includes full-service capabilities at both the Bracebridge and Huntsville sites and has been crafted to provide comprehensive healthcare services region-wide.

“From a Quality perspective, the revised model proposed for MAHC’s Capital Redevelopment plan achieves a number of improvements over its earlier versions,” said Dr. Caroline Correia, Quality Lead. “It improves access to care, ensuring that across the region, access to core services including emergency, inpatient care, obstetrical care, surgical and anesthetic services, and critical care are readily available… I believe that this revised model meets the needs of our communities and responds appropriately to the feedback received to date from the credentialed staff,” said Correia.

Dr. Pierre Mikhail an Emergency Room Physician at MAHC, reached out to MAHC leadership following the Credentialed Staff Association meeting on Wednesday night to say “Once again I wanted to thank you for your excellent work. I feel you listened to concerns, updated the plan to address the most important concerns and have given us ample opportunity to engage. The plan is imperfect, but it is also fantastic,” said Dr. Mikhail.

Dr. Rich Trenholm, a family physician, added, “It is not fiscally or socially sustainable or responsible to have two rural hospitals in two neighbouring towns providing largely identical services. If our region wants to continue to have a robust healthcare system that is truly close to home, we need to be a collaborative organization that, between the two sites and related community programming, will work together to truly allow for more patients to be cared for ‘close to home’. It excites me as a physician that we may be able to offer a more robust, innovative, and sustainable healthcare system than what we currently have.”

While enthusiasm is building, physicians have raised important considerations regarding the system’s long-term functionality, including aspects related to transportation, recruitment and retention, quality of care, and anticipated demographic changes.

These functional aspects have been considered in the current iteration of the health system plan and MAHC is committed to ongoing transparency related to the further refinement of these details in the design. Continuous dialogue with medical staff and the broader healthcare community is essential and will extend well beyond the 1.3 plan submission to ensure that all aspects of the system’s functionality are thoroughly understood and effectively implemented.

Recent feedback has already led to significant enhancements in regional healthcare services:

  • Both sites will have full surgical capabilities and two operating rooms at each site, ensuring efficient and comprehensive surgical services for our patients.
  • An Intensive Care Unit (ICU) will remain at the Bracebridge site, complimenting the Level 3 ICU planned for the Huntsville site, enhancing our capacity for comprehensive care.
  • The proposed increase of inpatient beds at the Bracebridge site to 36 will reduce the necessity for patient transfers and meet the healthcare needs of the community.
  • Obstetrics services continue at both hospital sites, supporting maternal and newborn care across Muskoka and area.

“As Chief of Staff, I am immensely proud of the collaborative efforts between our healthcare professionals and stakeholders in refining our healthcare system,” stated Dr. Khaled Abdel-Razek, Chief of Staff at MAHC. “We have listened closely to our physicians, staff, and other healthcare providers, and we have created a model that is innovative, integrated, and will provide high-quality sustainable healthcare. By continuing to work together, we can ensure that we not only meet the current needs of Muskoka and area residents, but we are also prepared to address future healthcare demands with resilience and effectiveness.”

Looking ahead, MAHC is dedicated to maintaining an open and transparent engagement process with all stakeholders. Continued consultation will take place with internal staff, community organizations, and the broader public. The public sessions are scheduled for mid-June (10-22) and will take place at various locations throughout Muskoka, providing another opportunity for community input. Details and registration information will be announced shortly.

Cheryl Harrison, CEO of MAHC, emphasized, “We are making significant strides toward enriching the quality of care within our organization by fostering collaboration among our physicians and healthcare professionals. Engaging in a collaborative approach is crucial for the advancement of our healthcare system, and we remain committed to actively involving physicians, staff, and the community in this endeavor. We encourage all stakeholders, including those who may oppose our current plan, to join us in this journey of continual learning and improvement.”

These efforts are part of MAHC’s commitment to ensure that the healthcare system not only meets the current needs of Muskoka residents but is also prepared to respond to future healthcare demands.

For more information on the current health system plan, visit or contact:

Bobbie Clark (she/her)

Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare

T: 705.789.2311 x 2711