PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA — Monday was payday for local hospitals in the riding.

The province announced $4.79 million in funding for the Bracebridge, Huntsville and Parry Sound hospitals.

“Ontario is working towards ending hallway health care by making increased investments in the province’s small and medium-sized hospitals,” said MPP Norman Miller in a release.

The total included $3.19 million for Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC); and an additional $1.6 million for West Parry Sound Health Centre.

“Our government recognizes that medium-sized hospitals were struggling under the funding formula so this funding is designed to ensure our local hospitals have the resources they need to meet the needs of our community,” said Miller.

He said the new investments “will help deliver on our commitment to end hallway health care.”

The released added that across Ontario, the government is investing an additional $68 million to support small- and medium-sized hospitals. This new investment is on top of the $384 million more that Ontario’s hospitals received this year as part of the province’s 2019 budget.

“This announcement is great news for our communities in Muskoka and area, and helps MAHC to ease our operating pressures,” said MAHC CEO Natalie Bubela.   “We appreciate the ongoing advocacy by Mr. Miller for our medium-sized, multi-site hospital and the support of the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN, Minister of Health and provincial government in affording us to focus on what we do best – providing outstanding integrated health care to our communities.”

This investments, Miller said, will:

Help ensure that families continue to have access to high-quality care;

Help put an end to hallway health care;

Address sector challenges and previous funding model inequities;

Promote the sustainability of hospital operations; and

Protect existing core services in communities across the province.

“Ontario has a comprehensive plan to end hallway health care,” added Christine Elliott Minister of Health in the release.

“Working with our hospital partners, we are fixing long-standing issues with how hospitals are funded that disadvantaged small- and medium-sized hospitals. We have listened to patients, frontline staff and key stakeholders to determine how we can fix historical inequities to provide financial stability and relief to hospitals, regardless of their size.”

The release said the funding is part of a province-wide increase in funding of one per cent for 66 small-sized hospitals, 1.5 per cent for 23 medium-sized and multi-site hospitals and targeted funding to assist with unique situations and historical funding challenges.

MAHC will get almost $3.2 million in provincial funding, part of almost $4.8 million for Parry Sound-Muskoka hospitals.