There has been a lot of talk in Muskoka about the future of health care in our area. Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare’s (MAHC) planning work around the future of hospital care continues. More recently, another group called the Muskoka and Area Health System Transformation (MAHST) has been looking more broadly at how health care is provided across the entire region, not just in hospital.
All of this planning is important to having a defined road map for the future. At MAHC, we expect the work of MAHST will help to shape the future plans for acute care and the hospitals. But we also know that this planning work has left our residents, both permanent and seasonal, with a certain amount of uncertainty about the future. The MAHST work that is being done now is part of a long-range planning exercise that contemplates the region’s future health care needs. Please rest assured that for many years to come, the two existing hospital sites in Muskoka will be here as it typically takes 15 to 20 years to successfully work through all of the required planning stages and approvals to build or redevelop a hospital.
I believe this is truly an exciting time for health care in Muskoka and area and collectively through MAHST we are on a solid pathway toward a future 'made in Muskoka' vision that transforms health care service delivery in our region. MAHST's objective is to look at all the health care services to see what efficiencies can be realized, to identify gaps and improve system connectedness to better the patient’s and family’s journey.
While these discussions are necessary and important, emotional reactions are only natural: apprehension, uneasiness and even fear surface. This uneasiness could lead to an erosion of philanthropic support for our hospitals. Without donor support for our millions in capital needs and technology, the present-day care we provide is at risk. Although the province pays for hospital operations, the community – through fundraising events, donations and other forms of support – is expected to pay for most of the hospitals' new equipment. The government does not provide dollars for making sure we keep pace with technology. Our buildings are getting older and so are the basic tools that our teams use to look after you and keep you safe. We have more than $8 million in capital needs, and that doesn't include $30 million in infrastructure needs, like roof replacements, outdated elevator controls, and so on.
It is critical that we all do what we can to invest in hospital care today, so we can maintain the high level of patient care we expect and deserve. Our hospital foundations continue to need your generous support and we need this support now more than ever. Millions of dollars are required annually.
In community hospitals like ours, the impact of your donation is significant. Donations make a difference every day in providing patients with high quality, safe care, and in recruiting the best providers to our team. Every penny counts. Please give what you can and help MAHC save lives and provide the best care we can. The future is important and needs to be planned for, but supporting our current needs is equally important to ensure current sustainability of care.