Norm Miller is working to bring better funding for the hospitals in Muskoka. The Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP introduced a motion at Queen’s Park this week, calling for the Wynne Liberals to immediately review the funding formula to address the underfunding of small and medium-sized hospitals. Miller says it’s been an issue for a number of years, but when he saw funding increase numbers this year, he knew it had to change. The province announced a 4.6 per cent increase for hospitals, and yet Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare received only 1.4 per cent, and the West Parry Sound Health Centre received less than that, with only a one per cent boost. Miller says that’s compared to a Richmond Hill area hospital which is getting an 11.5 per cent increase.
The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Helena Jaczek, told Miller that growing communities are receiving more funding but he says having a fully operational hospital is necessary in order to grow a community. He says businesses and families won’t want to move somewhere that doesn’t have access to hospital services.
MAHC is currently trying to decide on the best model for the future of the hospitals in Muskoka; keeping two acute care sites, moving to a one-site model, or designating inpatient and outpatient services at each location. Miller says the underfunding of medium-sized hospitals is one of the factors the task force is considering when looking at the future of the Huntsville District Memorial and South Muskoka Memorial Hospitals.
Miller adds hospital funding has essentially been frozen for five years, but things like salaries and hydro costs have continued to rise.