The West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District is looking at various projects for the next few years.
“The big issue at the table for the last while is do we want to pre-tax for future health care facilities and put some money in a reserve, but that didn’t gain any traction with the group,” explained Grand Forks’ Mayor Brian Taylor, who is also a director on the hospital district board.
“It was discussed by a number of people as a way for planning for the future, but others felt we should tax for the projects when we begin to build (facilities) and when we begin to provide that facility to the people who are paying the taxes.”
In the past several months, the directors have toured several cities and looked at the updates and renovations to hospitals.
“We were in Nelson a couple of months ago touring the new emergency ward that was put in the hospital there,” said Taylor. “We’re moving around the region looking at where our tax money is working for us.”
Taylor noted that doctor recruitment isn’t a big issue for this region as compared to up northern British Columbia.
“It’s nothing close to what is happening up north and the difficulties in northern communities,” he said. “We’re a pretty attractive community for doctors, relative to some of our northern neighbours.”
Another issue directors are looking at involves the topic of healthy communities.
“We only fund hospitals, so what about preventive medicines and clinics?” questioned Taylor. “There’s a push for us to play a different role and they’re monitoring quality of service, but other people are pushing for broader interpretation of what a facility is.
“The question I have for the future is, are we going to look at sharing the capitol costs of other institutional buildings?”
Finally, Taylor pointed out the directors will be looking at transportation to and from the big centres.
“We have helicopters and we want to share the costs of our fixed wing operators here in Grand Forks with the regional district,” he said.
Interior Health will be arriving in Grand Forks on May 23 for a meeting with locals.
The directors of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) and the Central Kootenay Regional District have governed the Hospital District since January 1996.
Ingrid Hampf, Acute Area Director for Kootenay Boundary at IHA, pointed out that there has been several projects occurring at the Boundary Hospital in Grand Forks.
“In the past year, and we’re still completing a few of these projects, we’ve invested in a brand new nurse call system which was completed at the end of March,” she said. “We have done a $300,000 new roof for the main part of the hospital, and we’ve also replaced a new generator for the sterilization process in the hospital.”
Hampf also noted that the Grand Forks Hospital Auxiliary also funded a portable ultrasound machine for the emergency department and ceiling lifts.
“This year coming forward we’re looking for a few items,” she noted. “We’re very well stocked in the Kootenay Boundary but we are looking for a new scope to add to the ones we already have, a new microscope for the lab and a new iStat, which is a portable lab testing device.”