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‘Quite some time’ until hospital redevelopment decision will be made

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare’s (MAHC) president and chief executive officer says a proposal for its hospital redevelopment program will not be approved “for quite some time.” 

In a statement on Friday, Cheryl Harrison, says no plan will be approved at the Board of Directors’ March meeting, reiterating MAHC’s commitment to listening to feedback so they can “reach the best possible model of care for the future.” 

“We want our communities to be clear that no decisions are being made for quite some time,” says Harrison. “Our primary focus is continued consultation to reach the best possible model of care for the future. We are committed to our promise to take all the time that is needed to meet with our stakeholders, to listen to feedback and make adjustments.” 

The plan that’s currently tabled is MAHC’s “Made-in-Muskoka healthcare system.” It was detailed in Jan. 2024. 

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Earlier this week, the Credentialed Staff Association held a meeting with some of MAHC’s credentialed physicians and midwives. Harrison says senior staff, including herself, attended, adding it followed a roundtable consultation with nursing staff earlier in the week. 

On the day of the meeting, 47 physicians along with Gravenhurst’s Cottage Country Family Health Team co-signed a new proposal for MAHC’s hospital redevelopment project. They called it “Care Close to Home.” 

Harrison confirms MAHC’s senior management has received the proposal. 

“We are committed to continuing to work with all credentialed staff on ideas and solutions for a two-sited hospital model that will serve all Muskoka and area communities in the future,” she says. “In the coming weeks, a further meeting is being organized to continue discussions with physicians and midwives.” 

Harrison adds meetings are scheduled with the four bargaining units/unions in March and MAHC is working on getting together with the area’s mayors and District Chair Jeff Lehman. 

“Continued communication updates will be provided on a weekly basis to keep our team members and communities informed,” says Harrison. “We appreciate the contributions of everyone who has engaged with us to date.” 

The statement follows an interview with Harrison, Moreen Miller, board chair, and Alasdair Smith, vice president of corporate services and chief financial officer, did on Muskoka Matters on YourTV where the trio said the project isn’t “carved in stone.” 

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