Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is one of 27 Ontario hospitals to receive operational funding for a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine at the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital (HDMH) Site.
The announcement was made today in Huntsville by Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Graydon Smith following Ontario government news of a $20 million investment to expand MRI services across the province to increase access to care for patients and reduce wait times.
“The provincial government continues to demonstrate its commitment to expanding accessibility to critical health services in Parry Sound-Muskoka,” says Smith. “Residents of our area have long deserved an MRI machine and I’m thrilled that we’re able to make it happen.”
MAHC’s HDMH Site has been a designated District Stroke Centre since 2006, and is the only regional stroke program without an MRI under its roof to perform time-sensitive studies before irreversible brain damage occurs. Dr. Jason Blaichman, Director & Chief of Diagnostic Imaging at MAHC, is delighted by today’s announcement that over time will lead to up to 5,000 MRI scans performed locally every year.
“Being able to offer MRI services locally in our region means our patients won’t have to travel out of the region for an exam that is fundamental to modern health care,” explains Dr. Blaichman. “Our sickest patients in the Emergency Departments or those admitted to our hospitals will be able to receive the MRI they need here, as well as the many outpatients on waiting lists. I am confident that our MRI will be an indispensable asset for many clinical programs at MAHC – not only for Muskoka’s stroke centre, but also for critical and intensive care, emergency trauma, orthopedic and general surgery, internal medicine, gynecology, and oncology services.”
The MRI project will be supported by $5 million in fundraising by the Huntsville Hospital Foundation by doubling the goal of its Focus on Imaging campaign to upgrade and replace diagnostic technology at the HDMH Site to total of $10 million.
“We are grateful that our government will fund MAHC’s operational costs, but it is up to us, our donors, and our generous community to raise the funds to purchase the MRI machine and cover the building alterations,” says Katherine Craine, CEO of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation. “This is a life-changing investment in health care for all of Muskoka and a game changer for each resident and visitor in our communities.”
Cheryl Harrison, President & CEO at MAHC, agrees expanding access to MRI services in Muskoka is transformational and is excited for planning to get underway to culminate in the first MRI scan in Muskoka in the years ahead.
“We are grateful the Ministry of Health has supported expanding MRI services closer to each and every resident and visitor to Muskoka and East Parry Sound,” says Harrison. “We are so fortunate that in the future we will be able to provide the highest quality imaging services in our region, resulting in more timely diagnosis and treatment for patients.”
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