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Collingwood hospital going after provincial funding for MRI lab

Ontario is offering to fund 15 new MRI labs, Collingwood General and Marine Hospital is applying for one
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Collingwood General and Marine Hospital.

Collingwood hospital is after a piece of an MRI pie. 

The Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (CGMH) is submitting a pitch to the province asking for operational funding for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) lab. 

According to a letter from the hospital, the province announced operational funding on Dec. 22, 2021 for 15 MRI labs, and they’re looking for willing hosts. 

CGMH sent a letter to Collingwood council asking for the town’s support on their application to the province. The hospital is currently preparing a business case for an MRI, which is due to the province by Jan. 21. 

“At present, residents of our South Georgian Bay community must drive to Barrie, Owen Sound, Orillia, or Toronto to gain access to much needed MRI service,” states the hospital’s letter to council. “CGMH has the capability and expertise to provide MRI service if the Ministry of Health provides the opportunity to do so.”

CGMH wouldn’t provide further comments to CollingwoodToday regarding their business case plan, stating the plan was still in “early stages.”

If CGMH is successful, the province will provide operational funding for an MRI lab at the hospital, but funds would still have to be raised by the hospital foundation to purchase an MRI machine. 

Dr. Murray Miller, chief of the radiology department at CGMH, also wrote a letter to council asking for support. 

“CGMH intends to submit a proposal and we have been hard at work,” said Miller in his letter. “We have the capability to provide a top-notch service if the Ministry gives us the opportunity.” 

According to Ontario Health data collected in November 2021, the average wait time for the lowest-priority patients is about 65 days. The target for this priority level is 28 days. 

Mid-priority patients waited an average of 20 days, the target is 10 days. 

High priority and emergency patients were receiving MRIs within the target time (two days for high-priority, and immediately for emergencies). 

According to the Canadian Medical Imaging Inventory, there were 124 MRI units in operation in Ontario in 2019/2020, which includes public and privately funded units.