Facilities report points to aging hospitals

The cost to replace or upgrade the aging 60-year-old hospital that serves Rossland up to industry standard won’t be cheap.

The cost to replace or upgrade the aging 60-year-old hospital that serves Rossland up to industry standard won’t be cheap, according to an Interior Health Authority report.

The Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) could be replaced for nearly $84 million, or around $45 million to repair and upgrade the facility to bring it up to industry standard, The Interior Health Capital Strategy and Facility Assessment revealed.

The number itself does not indicate that the hospital is falling apart, is unsafe or is not providing good care, said Interior Health acute care area health services administrator for Kootenay Boundary, Ingrid Hampf, instead it is a bricks-and-mortar replacement figure to replace exactly the same facility.

“The building doesn’t dictate as to whether we are providing good care or not,” she said. “We have great staff in all locations … and we can’t lose sight of that based on a number in a spreadsheet,” she said.

She said the assessment helps IHA look at health care needs and see how the building—as well as the facilities in Grand Forks, Nelson and Nakusp—fits to deliver health care to 80,000 people in the Kootenay-Boundary.

“The real driver for the discussion is not the number on the report, it is really around services and what kind of health care should we be providing, and are there changes to services that we can see coming due to new technology,” she said.

Hampf said the assessment is one of 11 pieces of information IHA and the province use in planning, relying on projected demand for the services the facility offers in the future and needed programs.

The report was given to the West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District (WKBRHD) board Nov. 27 and will be used in planning to determine future capital projects.

The assessment was mandated by the province, Hampf said, and is required for all hospitals and health care facilities operating across the province.

The assessment took into account the physical condition of the facility, as well as the condition and age of its mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

Looking at the report it appears all buildings have some significant challenges, Hampf noted.

“But I would argue that they are well maintained. Our plant services has done a remarkable job with our services,” she said.

KBRH has been upgraded more than adequately in the 10 years since the last facilities assessment. Since 2003 approximately $10.5 million was spent on capital projects and $19.4 million on capital equipment at KBRH.

IHA has invested in projects like roof replacement, fire alarms systems and new generators for all three buildings, as recommended in the 2003 review.

Advancing capital projects is a joint venture between IHA and the WKBRHD, the hospital district paying for 40 per cent of the projects and the provincial government and hospital foundations covering 60 per cent.

Of all of the major health care facilities in the West Kootenay-Boundary, only the Arrow Lakes Hospital in Nakusp is less than 50 years old.

Boundary Hospital in Grand Forks, KBRH in Trail, Kootenay Lake District Hospital in Nelson and the Castlegar and District Community Health Centre are between 50 and 60 years old.

with files from Art Harrison, Trail Times


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