The West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board met in Nakusp after touring facilities in both Nakusp and New Denver.

Regional Hospital District discusses proposed study

The West Kootenay–Boundary Regional Hospital District Board met in Nakusp on Wednesday, October 10.

The West Kootenay–Boundary Regional Hospital District Board met in Nakusp on Wednesday, October 10 at the Emergency Services Building. Members of the board were treated to tours of facilities in both New Denver and Nakusp earlier in the day.

Quick study needs more details

The meeting started with Interior Health delegates presenting an upcoming study that will evaluate medical facilities in the region. VFA, Inc. was awarded the five-year contract to assess medical facilities in B.C., and they will start their assessment in the Kootenay-Boundary region in November, Todd Mastel, Interior Health’s Manager and Business Support for Acute/Tertiary Services told the West Kootenay–Boundary Regional Hospital District directors. The reports from the assessment are targeted to be ready for May 2013.

“This is a key element for the overall facilities planning in the area and capital program planning for the area as well,” said Mastel, “It’s information that will help both Interior Health and the board as we move forward with our capital plan.”

Director Andy Shadrack asked if smaller rural centres would be included in the study, and Mastel confirmed this was the case.

Steve McEwan, Director, Facilities, Plant and Maintenance told the board that two weeks in total have been allotted for the facilities in the Kootenay-Boundary region, with three days planned to cover Kootenay Boundary Hospital. The VFA assessors will be relying on reports as well as on-site visits as part of the assessment process.

Director Walter Popoff said two weeks seemed like a very short period of time to assess all the facilities in the area, and asked if there would be follow-up studies if major deficiencies in the buildings were discovered.

“I think this time around it’s up to us to ask that question. If we’re not happy with their assessment, if it’s not thorough enough and we find it’s full of holes I would expect there would be a follow up,” McEwan told the board, stating that this time around there was a more thorough process in place for the assessments.

At the moment, capital planning is done on a year-to-year basis by Interior Health, but Mastel hopes that this assessment will help for longer-range planning in the future.

“This evaluation is a very important one and could set the stage for future expenditures and possible changes in future direction in some cases, said Director John Dooley. “To be truthful with you, I can’t see how you can get a proper evaluation in two weeks.”

To address concerns the study may need more time and resources to be properly carried out, the board voted to send a letter to both the Interior Health Authority and the Minister of Health requesting the terms of reference be sent to the board so that the directors can get some kind of outline of exactly what is being called for and what the end result of the study would be.

Patient transport policies

A request came for patient transport policies in a letter from RDCK CAO Jim Gustafson to IH CEO Dr. Robert Halpenny.

Director Paul Peterson asked if the response could have specifics.

“If the procedures are absolutely identified, there’s a lot less chance for error than just a general idea,” he said.

Todd Mastel told dir. Peterson that it could be useful to have IH Regional Director for Patient Transport Services Brent Hobbs come in and present information about protocols and procedures to the board.

Dir. Ron Mickel brought up the recent tragedy that occurred near Nelson in which a four year old and his step dad were in an ATV accident. He asked why the helicopter landed at the airport not at the heliport.

Steve McEwan replied there’s nothing wrong with the heliport, but if the helicopter weren’t a twin engine helicopter it wouldn’t have been able to land at the heliport.

Nakusp Emerg planning dollars

Nakusp Emergency planning money are in the top five priorities for capital planning for the Kootenay Boundary region. “But it is strictly planning dollars at this phase,” said Community Integrated Health director Linda Basran.

Revisiting community versus acute care in Nakusp

Director Karen Hamling brought up the reorganization by IH of the Arrow Lakes Hospital from acute care to community care.

“This has been quite a source of disconnect for our physicians who are looking after emergency room and acute care,” she told the board, adding that they are very unhappy with it and don’t feel it serves what is needed.

“Being able to meet with their peers and get the support that they used to is, in their eyes, not happening,” Hamling said. She asked for the board’s support to write a letter to Dr. Halpenny asking that he revisit his decision. A motion passed that the issue will be reviewed by the executive committee who will make a recommendation to the board in November.

Chair Marguerite Rotvold thanked the directors who came to the tour of the facilities in New Denver and Nakusp, and said it was important that the directors who fund equipment for these centres are aware of what services are provided.