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Barrie’s RVH Foundation launches new $100M campaign to expand regional services

The hospital's cardiac renal unit is closed to admissions and transfers. File

The RVH Foundation in Barrie, Ont., has launched a new $100-million campaign to expand regional services, including building a new health-care facility in Innisfil.

On Tuesday, the foundation launched the Keep Life Wild campaign to grant $100 million to support Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH)’s expansion plans.

The campaign is focused on supporting three areas, the first of which is expanding RVH’s regional clinical programs and specialized care for people from across Simcoe Muskoka.

The funding will also be used to build a new health-care facility in Innisfil, the largest community in the region without its own community hospital, and help innovate care by supporting the application of research breakthroughs at the bedside and through leading-edge medical education.

“RVH is critical to the healthcare system across all of Simcoe Muskoka. More than half of RVH’s patients live outside of Barrie. With this expansion of our regional programs in cancer, heart, stroke, and youth mental health, we will be able to care for more people sooner,” said Gail Hunt, RVH president and CEO.

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“With more beds, more advanced imaging and more specialized care, we can reduce wait times, particularly in the Emergency Department, reduce travel for care, and eliminate hallway medicine.”

She said the expansion will also reduce the pressure of patient volume at all regional community hospitals.

Along with the new health-care facility in Innisfil, which will treat residents from across south Simcoe and Barrie, the foundation said the expansion plan will double the current site on Georgian Drive in Barrie, while doubling its staff to about 6,000 employees, helping to drive the region’s economy.

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Once approved, this project will be primarily funded by the province of Ontario but will still require some community investment.

The foundation said the Keep Life Wild campaign will run for ten years and is the most ambitious and largest in Simcoe Muskoka history.

To support the campaign, an anonymous donor family has agreed to match all new gifts to the Keep Life Wild campaign up to $9 million, doubling the impact of every donation the community makes.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the future of health care in our region. The people of Simcoe Muskoka have done it before, and we can do it again. But it’s going to take all of us to achieve this ambitious goal – donors who give monthly, at community events, through employee campaigns, every gift will count,” said Paul Larche, chair of RVH Foundation.

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Donations can be made at KeepLifeWild.ca. The site also allows the public to learn more about RVH’s plan for the future of health care in the region and how to get involved.

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