New leadership elected into the role of chair, and alternate chair, on the West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District board provides a nice balance for region, says Trail Mayor Lisa Pasin.
Kaslo’s mayor Suzan Hewat was elected into the head seat and Pasin, the alternate, at the first hospital board meeting of the year held in Castlegar last Wednesday.
“Nomination to alternate chair was a surprise,” Pasin shared at Monday night council in Trail. “What I appreciate is the confidence the other directors have shown in me after sitting on the hospital district board for one year,” she said.
“Having Director Hewat, from the Regional District of Central Kootenay stand in position of chair and myself, from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary as alternate chair, provides a balance of our hospital district. And that’s exciting.”
Following the elections and a presentation from Interior Health (IH) that focused on health-related transportation, the board got down to business by zeroing in on budget, and forthcoming project proposals.
Pasin reported that the budget is currently valued at $2.77 million.
“We had our first glance at all the equipment and IT, both smaller and larger capital requests that are going to be put through, and had a discussion,” she explained. “In March, the board will be meeting again and moving towards finalizing the budget.”
Topping the list of the priciest construction jobs, each costing over $100,000, are five projects proposed by Interior Health. Notably, because these capital initiatives are over $100,000, they are also subject to government approval.
However, if all goes according to plan, one of the five projects that will go ahead is a pharmacy upgrade at Kootenay Lake Hospital, in Nelson.
To meet current standards, the sterile compounding area in the pharmacy requires upgrading of the ante room and the department’s air handling systems, reported Stuart Horn, the hospital district’s secretary treasurer.
Beginning next year, all pharmacies in B.C. will be required to adopt model standards for sterile compounding, which allows medicinal ingredients to be mixed in personalized strengths and doses based on patient need. Horn further reasoned that if a pharmacy is unable to meet these sterile standards by May 2021, they will not be permitted to prepare sterile compounded drug treatments such as chemotherapy and intravenous medications.
As far as Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, there are two replacement jobs on the $100,000+ list. After 20 years, IH says it’s time to install a new medical air and vacuum system to improve energy efficiency and to comply with the latest standards. And the existing ceiling tiles in the operating room, installed in 2001, require replacement and redesign.
Rounding out the top five construction projects on the $100,000+ roster are the provision of a secure room, and boosted security measures, at Grand Forks Boundary Hospital.
The “secure room” project began in 2017, but was delayed due to structural and mechanical infrastructure work that cropped up after the room location was changed. As far as security upgrades, this entails additional card access doors at the main reception and more security cameras to monitor certain areas.
There are other proposed projects budgeted at $100,000+, but these are not classified as “construction.” For the Castlegar and District Community Health Centre (hospital), IH wants to introduce modern IT, meaning an electronic documentation system for the emergency department, which still uses paper format.
Another item for Castlegar, this one falls under “equipment,” is a new bus for Talarico Place.
The new vehicle would replace a 2006 model, seat 16 to 20 people, and be outfitted with a wheelchair lift and restraints.
Aside from the 30 directors talking budget after casting ballots for the new chair and alternate – 13 of those being elected officials representing the Kootenay Boundary and 17, the Central Kootenay – at the Jan. 22 meeting another five directors were nominated to serve on the executive board.
The 2020 executives are: New Denver’s Colin Moss, representing Arrow Lakes, Slocan and the Castlegar region; Janice Morrison, from Nelson, representing the Kootenay region, including Kaslo, Nakusp and Salmo; the Boundary will be represented by Grace McGregor, director for Area C; and Area B Director Linda Worley will represent the Greater Trail area.
The main purpose of West Kootenay-Boundary Hospital District board is to provide funding for hospital equipment and capital projects.
Projects and priorities are proposed each year by Interior Health, with a list developed in consultation between IH and the board itself.
Taxpayers in the hospital district typically cover 40 per cent of the cost for approved projects while the remaining 60 per cent is funded by the Province of BC and/or through donations provided by local hospital health foundations.