East Kootenay Hospital Board of Directors expresses frustration with provincial capital funding processes – Cranbrook Daily Townsman
Directors of local hospital boards have expressed frustration with provincial officials over capital funding planning processes, as a local funding commitment had not yet been approved when a health center emergency and primary care was announced earlier this week in Cranbrook.
Directors of the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District (KERHD) board of directors voiced concerns at a quarterly meeting in Cranbrook on Friday, with some noting that it had not approved the cost-sharing of $ 1, $ 2 million requested by Interior Health.
“It is unfortunate that the announcement could not be postponed until next week, until we had the chance to have this discussion,” said Susan Clovechok, director of zone F in the valley of Columbia. “But that said, it’s done. I’m a little surprised that we weren’t informed somehow that there would be a $ 3 million capital project when we budgeted.
“Sure, it was in the books. “
The UPCC, announced by Health Minister Adrian Dix on Wednesday, August 4, will be located at Baker St. Mall in Cranbrook and staffed seven days a week, 365 days a year. Opened in November, it will feature 13 patient care stations for examinations, assessments and consultations for urgent but non-fatal medical conditions.
The staffing of 22 health professionals will include physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, mental wellness clinicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, Indigenous health coordinators and a clinical pharmacist.
The center is a collaborative effort between Interior Health, the Department of Health, the East Kootenay Division of Family Medicine and the Ktunaxa Nation.
In addition to treating non-life-threatening conditions, UPCC will also serve as a resource to match patients with a regular primary care provider. It will also integrate other community supports available in the city through a team approach.
The capital funding required for the project is budgeted at $ 3 million – $ 1.8 million to be provided by Interior Health through the province and $ 1.2 million through KERHD.
To pay its share, KERHD will withdraw $ 1.2 million from a larger lump sum that will be transferred to a reserve fund for large infrastructure projects.
While the board voted to approve its share of UPCC funding, a few grudges remained.
Dean McKerracher, chairman of the board of KERHD, expressed disappointment that the board of directors and local taxpayers were not recognized by the province and senior Interior Health officials as funding partners when the province announced the UPCC.
“There is disgust and disappointment towards the Minister of Health and the [IH board] President Doug Cochrane for failing to also announce that the East Kootenay Regional Hospital District Council and taxpayers – 80,000 taxpayers in that region – are funding this facility, ”McKerracher said.
The issue also reignited a debate on local capital funding priorities versus priorities held by the provincial government.
Some administrators around the KERHD board table have called on the province to develop a master strategic plan that would define shared capital funding priorities, in terms of urgency and need, for health facilities in the region. the region.
Based on this strategic plan, the board could then plan and budget for future capital projects accordingly, knowing that the province shares the same funding priorities.
“It goes back to our master plan, we keep talking about a master plan, we just talk about it and then these projects come in for a million. [dollars] here a million [dollars] there, how do you do your planning? Said Stan Doehle, Zone B director for the southern region of the country. “I think the province really needs to wake up and work with us…”
The hospital board typically sets the budget in the first quarter of the year, which can complicate financial planning when approached by the province for off-cycle capital demands.
The debate over the province’s last-minute funding requests took place last year, when provincial grants became available for energy saving projects at local health facilities. broadly defined and projects were not seen as a health care priority.