East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook. Google maps photo

Interior Health provides update on capital projects at Cranbrook hospital

The scope of pharmacy renovations at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital is expected to increase, as Interior Health will likely be asking for an increased budget next year, according to an official.

Todd Mastel, director, business support with Interior Health, told directors with the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board that the pharmacy renovations will likely eclipse a $1.45 million budget as Interior Health prepares it’s annual list of capital funding requests.

“This one we are experiencing pressures on that we cannot address within the funding that’s available,” said Mastel, “and we can’t reduce the scope down to the $1.45 million that we have so as part of our funding letter that will be coming in February, this one…there will be a request for an increase on this project.”

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board provides up to 40 per cent of capital funding costs for health care facilities and equipment in the region.

Other projects currently underway at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital include a kitchen disposal and conveyor system that should be substantially completed by December. Interior Health is also working on getting a SPECT-CT scanner into the East Kootenay Regional Hospital, which was acquired following a substantial $1.2 million fundraising campaign from the East Kootenay Foundation for Health and would add to the facility’s diagnostic imaging capabilities.

“That is a substantial project, not quite $2.2 million,” Mastel said. “We’re currently going through the equipment selection process and once we’ve made that determination, the design and the installation service contract will have to go out to RFP, but overall, we’re looking to have the new SPECT CT in place by September 2021.”

Going back to projects approved from years past, a new urology imaging system in the operating room at the hospital was installed in May, while chemical analyzers for the microbiology lab are on order and should be installed early in the new year, according to Mastel.

Work is ongoing for an electronic emergency department health record system at EKRH as well, he added.

In addition to Mastel’s update, the hospital district board also heard a presentation from Lorne Sisley, Corporate Director, Facilities Management and Operations for Interior Health. Sisley’s presentation included more in-depth information regarding energy conservation at the Cranbrook hospital and a biomass boiler at the Invermere hospital — two of three surprise funding requests recently brought forward by Interior Health that were turned down by the KERHD board.

The KERHD board had earlier turned down the two funding requests because the organization had already completed it’s 2020 budget. However, a third request — a $100,000 item for a business study to expanding long-term care in Cranbrook — was approved.

Those items were identified by Interior Health after the province provided additional funding outside of the routine budget cycle, which would have required a further $1.4 million cost-share from the KERHD board.

Sisley added that the need for energy conservation updates at the Cranbrook hospital were determined through an energy and infrastructure audit of health care facilities in the region. For the Invermere hospital, Sisley explained the need to replace the existing propane-based system with a biomass boiler, which would add redundancies to the system.

“I know infrastructure programs are not seen as the flashy projects that people want to put money into,” Sisley said. “They’re not seen by our patients and constituents that are asked to fund them, don’t see the effort, but I can say that without having that backbone of our facilities, we can’t consider all the other excellent projects that are being put forward or being considered that are patient-facing.”

The presentation on the two items were simply for information only, however, the funding requests will be deferred into the next round of capital funding requests that will be made by Interior Health in the coming months.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

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