Hospital Levy Approved, So Now What? file photo of Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj, July 16, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

The next step for the proposed new acute care hospital in Windsor-Essex is the design phase. All it needs is the province’s approval to move ahead.

Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj says it’s a lot like a tennis match, and the ball is in the province’s court. He’s hoping the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will quickly sign off on the design phase of the $2-billion project.

“We’re not asking the province to stick the shovel in the ground. We have a lot of work to do before that happens,” says Musyj.

First on the order of business, getting the City of Windsor and the County of Essex to pen the ministry a letter stating that they have approved a levy to pay for its share of the cost, and want the project to move ahead to stage two.

Before an architectural firm is hired, floor plans are drawn and the artistic rendition, Musyj says the ministry needs to have some key questions answered.

“What you have to do is take every single program you’re putting into the new hospital and urgent care, and you have to in effect design that program with words,” he explains. “So, how many beds? What it’s going to look like with respect to staffing? What it’s going to look like with respect to space?”

Once the hospital is designed on paper, he says the public will again, get a chance to comment.

“As we start designing the spaces, we start mocking them up and building them; we invite the community in.”

Much of the opposition to the location of the hospital has to do with accessibility for residents living in downtown Windsor and on its west side, but Musyj says they won’t be denied access to emergency care at the Grace site.

“It’s going to be an emergency department staffed by emergency room physicians and emergency room nurses, but it’s not going to have in-patient beds attached to it.”

He says 90% of emergency department patients are discharged home.

Musyj says if the city and the county hadn’t approved the $200-million levy, the project would not move forward.