ALLISTON – July 15, 2015 – On June 22nd, Stevenson Memorial Hospital submitted a 600-page Stage 1 Capital submission plan to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC). The MOHLTC lays out a 6-stage submission process for redevelopment within the province of Ontario; this first step, with approval, will lead to five additional capital submission steps, culminating when shovels break ground on the new facility. Ideally, this will occur in September of 2018.
Stevenson is taking this first capital step due to the fact that the facility is outdated in terms of being able to handle the number of visits per year. The current facility was constructed in 1964 and was expected to handle 7,000 visits per year; yet, in 2012, Stevenson accommodated 29,888 emergency department visits, and that number increased to 33,424 visits in 2014-2015. Thus, the current facility is attempting to handle over four times the level of visits it was designed to handle. The Emergency Department is especially in need of being upgraded, as it is the “most relied upon and essential service” at Stevenson, accounting for over 50% of the total number of visits to the hospital.
The need to upgrade Stevenson is further confirmed by the Ministry of Finance via its population projections, as a facility that is more than two times Stevenson's current size of 71,925 gross square feet is needed to properly meet the needs of a growing community, one that is expected to grow from its current 55,000 to over 90,000 by 2031. Stevenson's services will be even more in-demand due to the fact that a large percentage of that 90,000+ will be of an older demographic. Without updating the facility, that community could be put at risk, especially if a critical outbreak of an infectious disease hits that community in the future.
The Capital submission plan includes a budget to update the facility with modern infrastructure and services, including a new Emergency Department, OR facilities, Diagnostic Imaging and Lab, and refreshed outpatient clinics. The total gross square footage of the new facility would be 161,577 (more than twice the current size of 71,925, satisfying the Ministry of Finance's community population projections). The new facility would preserve the helipad on the northeast, with an unimpeded flight path. It would also allow for a dedicated internal road for ambulances on the west side of the property, away from traffic flows. It would also triple the amount of parking spaces Stevenson currently has, making it easier for patients to access the hospital.
The total project cost estimate is $136,261,200, with a local share portion of $23,309,700. The Ministry of Finance mandates that hospitals fund the local share portion through community fundraising efforts. Thus, Stevenson Memorial Hospital Foundation (SMHF) asked The Fundraising Network (TFN) to conduct a feasibility and planning study to determine the best way of raising $30 million to help complete this project.
This study was done over a period of four months, involving 54 personal interviews and one focus group session. The study showed that Stevenson is perceived to be well run and financially sound, as well as innovative and forward-thinking, even though the hospital continues to struggle to address the growing number of patients and outdated facilities. These challenges were seen as a positive motivator for fundraising.
There is a great deal of support in seeing this renovation to completion. Stevenson Memorial Hospital Foundation Chair Margaret Barber has signed a letter of support to raise between $25-$30 million for this project. In addition, Southlake Regional Health Centre, County of Simcoe and Nottawasaga Foundation, the Town of New Tecumseth, Honda Canada, and others are backing this initiative.
“I am delighted to have submitted our stage 1 submission to the Ministry of Health and am looking forward to continuing our engagement with all community stakeholder groups as we progress along our path towards redevelopment,” says Dr. Jody Levac, President & CEO. This new hospital, once built, will provide this community with a revitalized facility, high-level patient care and a hospital we can be proud of.”