Thursday, 26 June 2014
An exciting initiative to envision and plan Hospital Care for Our Future Generations is underway at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare. We started this planning late last year with our staff and physicians from both clinical and non-clinical areas. To date we have had more than 150 staff, physicians and community members leading this conversation, facilitated by planning experts. And late in May we brought our progress to our communities in a series of information sessions. Very soon we look forward to engaging our communities once again when we will be able to show you some options for how hospital care in Muskoka could look in the future.
What is Hospital Care for Our Future Generations? It’s simply that – exploring the types of programs and services that MAHC will provide in the future for your children and your children’s children. Like many hospital facilities built decades ago, our buildings are getting old and their infrastructure is limiting. Research and technology are improving how patients are treated and are changing the way that hospitals provide care. All of this, and other variables like workload data, the catchment area we serve, projected population growth, disease prevalence and travel distances, have been considered as we develop the options and consider the risks and benefits of different models. As part of Master Planning, all potential models must be explored and we would imagine that our community would also expect nothing less.
So in 2012 we started into the Ministry of Health’s capital planning process, a process that all hospitals in Ontario have to go through if they want to sell, lease or redevelop their land or buildings. We know this process is long and requires several ministry approvals along the way. We also know it is important to start planning early so we are in the Ministry’s queue for development projects. And on top of all of this we know that community support is key to any plan moving forward, so I encourage you to get involved. Not only will this work shape the future of hospital care in our communities, but it will also immediately provide a context for our infrastructure renewal planning
Step 1 - in the fall of 2012, MAHC filed a Pre-Capital assessment with the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and is now moving toward completing a Stage 1 submission.
Step 2 - Our next step is to develop what the Ministry calls a Master Program. It reflects our facilities’ present and future clinical service role within our communities. It outlines current and projected future programs and services, workload, staffing, and departmental space requirements by site. This work to develop a draft Master Program has been undertaken over the past several months through a series of planning team meetings at the hospitals.
Step 3 - I am excited to announce that over the summer months we will be working on the Master Plan stage to determine the potential space needs based on the proposed programs and services. As part of this stage, experts are evaluating the condition and potential use of our buildings, which will help to define our long-term development strategies over a 20-year timeframe to support the future delivery of health services as described in the Master Program. Internally, early this summer we will be holding a series of three integrated workshops with a variety of stakeholders, including architectural services, functional programming, hospital staff (clinical and support), and community representatives. The work that comes from these sessions will help inform the various models that we intend to bring to our communities in interactive sessions in late August. Please stay tuned to our website for more details.
By the end of 2014 we hope to bring a draft Master Program/Master Plan to the Board of Directors for approval, but it’s important to remember that the document is fluid and will continue to evolve as health care here in Muskoka evolves. This is certainly an exciting time at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare and I hope you too are excited about what the future could hold.