Muskoka To-DAILY

New CT-Scanner for Huntsville underway as fears rise over MAHC fundraising and future of SMMH

HUNTSVILLE — A multi-week replacement of the CT Scanner and renovation of the CT Suite is underway at the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital (HDMH) site — amid more concerns about hospital fundraising and services and the longterm future of the Bracebridge hospital.

Works continues inside and outside on a new $2 million CT-Scanner at MAHC's Huntsville District Memorial Hospital site.

Works continues inside and outside on a new $2 million CT-Scanner at MAHC’s Huntsville District Memorial Hospital site.

Thanks to a generous $2 million funding commitment from the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, a new, 128-slice CT Scanner will be installed at the HDMH site, and the necessary building alterations made to create a safe and patient-friendly space, says a MAHC news release.

Hospital officials do not anticipate interruption to the CT diagnostic service due to a portable CT scanner that will be onsite and in use during the renovation period.

The replacement comes amid growing community concerns across Muskoka about hospital funding, the allocation of services and the longterm future of the two hospitals.

With tight budgets for hospitals — and patients — many are confused as to the new provincial protocol that the local hospitals say now means the province only pays for medical staff and services, but not capital equipment like CT Scanners and other equipment.

As well, there are fears by Bracebridge Town Council that investments in the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital site in Bracebridge may not be necessary for long if the hospital were to one day close.

But those fears are being dispelled by Natalie Bubela, chief executive officer at MAHC, who says she can’t understand why people think that.

She told local politicians recently that those fears — and any related to more services being shifted to Huntsville at the expense of duplicate services at Bracebridge — are unfounded and not based on any definitive decisions by the hospitals boards, its LIHN or the province.

She said a sharing of services between the two sites is being done equitably to ensure all of Muskoka is served at one site or the other.

Meanwhile,  MAHC  officials say patient outcomes will be improved in Huntsville with the new CT Scanner as speed, slice count and image quality allow doctors to diagnose patients more accurately and perform medical procedures with greater precision in a timelier manner.

And they say the project brings several benefits to patient care including:

— reducing the length of time patients must hold their breath for some exams – from over 30 seconds to less than 5 seconds.

— a shorter exam time is critical for some patients— capturing a thinner “slice thickness,” which provides greater detail, accuracy and precision in the images;

— formatting full scans in 60 seconds or less with very little, if any, operator involvement;

— providing a dedicated workflow to better assist in emergency trauma CT exams;

facilitates faster access to reports, better communication amongst physicians and quicker reporting times for our patients;

— the ability to complete more non-invasive testing;

— facilitates a lower x-ray dose.

They say upgrading aging equipment helps them to better serve our community, and this project will equip us with a much-needed tool for improved diagnostics and patient outcomes, says Bubela.

“When minutes count, it’s important to have access to reliable equipment,” says Bubela, noting the existing 6-slice scanner is nearing its end of life. “Even more, the work that is underway will enhance the overall experience with the CT scanner. Patients who arrive for a CT exam are often in pain, feel unwell, and are anxious about the tests and worried about the results. The new CT Suite will provide a patient focused environment with comfortable waiting areas, change rooms and also a dedicated injection staging room.”

In addition, the Simcoe/Muskoka Acute Stroke Protocol also relies heavily on the CT service at the HuntsvilleHospital as it is the only designated District Stroke Centre between Barrie and North Bay.

Debi Davis, executive director of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, is excited about the community support for the project, including major pledges from the Doug Woollings family and the Rotary Club of Huntsville. 

“This project represents a significant investment into our health care community and will result in many positive health care outcomes for the residents and visitors of our town,” says Davis.

“The CT project is just one example of how the Foundation is supporting healthcare for life, here. Community support is growing and we encourage you to make a donation in support of this vital project.”

The renovation work is being completed by Monteith Building Group and will position MAHC to solve several challenges encountered in the current space.

These include a much more comfortable patient care environment, space designed specifically for the work done in the area, and meeting infection control and accessibility standards.  The new CT Scanner incorporates design and technological advancements that are very current, and provides flexibility for future advancements.

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Posted by on Mar 6 2014. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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