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Muskoka physicians submit counter-proposal to controversial hospital redevelopment plan

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Nearly one month after Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) released its controversial redevelopment plan, dozens of physicians have now submitted a counter-proposal that they say is more equitable.

MAHC's proposed plan would divide specific services between the Bracebridge and Huntsville facilities and significantly reduce inpatient beds at the Bracebridge site.

MAHC has indicated both hospitals would have intensive care units and surgical centres, but Bracebridge will have 14 inpatient beds while Huntsville will have 139.

Residents and health care workers, including physicians, have opposed the plan, saying dividing the services would limit health care access to many.

Counter Proposal

A new proposal, created and endorsed by 47 physicians and Gravenhurst's Cottage Country Family Health Team, aims to balance those numbers.

The Care Close to Home proposal would see 90 inpatient beds kept in Bracebridge and the remaining 50 put in Huntsville.

"There should be a more equitable amount of beds between the two sites," said Dr. Luke Wu, an MAHC physician who endorsed the counter-proposal. "But because the population is bigger here (south Muskoka) and we already have more medical surgical beds here already, that this should be the predominant inpatient site."

Obstetrical Care

Also, part of the physicians' proposal includes obstetrical care. Under MAHC's proposal, Huntsville would be the only facility to handle obstetrics. However, the physicians' proposal wants to keep child delivery in both facilities.

Dr. Wu said the physicians met with hospital officials Tuesday night, hoping to discuss their proposal.

"The meetings more focused on the pros and cons of MAHC's proposal exclusively," he added. "I think we're more or less at the same place as we were before."

MAHC Statement

In a statement to CTV News, MAHC said its Credentialed Staff Association acknowledged the proposal being circulated in the room, indicating it would be tabled for use during the evening working groups.

"We have not yet had the opportunity to thoroughly review and discuss this with the physician group," the statement reads. "We are looking forward to their formal submission to us, together with an opportunity to discuss the proposal as part of continued engagement with care providers to reach the best possible model of care for the future."

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