Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) announced it will receive operational funding for a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine at the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital (HDMH) site.
The announcement follows news that the Ontario government will invest $20 million in expanding MRI services across the province to increase access to care and reduce wait times.
The Huntsville hospital, which was designated a District Stroke Centre in 2006, is the only regional stroke program without an MRI on-site to perform time-sensitive studies before irreversible brain damage occurs.
MRI provides detailed images of the inside of the body without the use of radiation. It is used to diagnose and monitor a wide range of medical conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders.
Dr. Jason Blaichman, Director and Chief of Diagnostic Imaging at MAHC, welcomed the news and said that adding an MRI machine would allow the hospital to perform up to 5,000 MRI scans locally every year.
He added that the MRI would be an “indispensable asset” for many clinical programs at MAHC, including 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, which has doubled the goal of its Focus on Imaging campaign to upgrade and replace diagnostic technology at the HDMH site to a total of $10 million.
Katherine Craine, CEO of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, said the funds would be used to purchase the MRI machine and cover building alterations.
Cheryl Harrison, President and CEO at MAHC, said expanding access to MRI services in Muskoka is “transformational” and expressed excitement for the planning process to begin to bring the first MRI scan to Muskoka in the coming years.