Hospital District Keeps an Eye to the Future

Hospital District Keeps an Eye on the Future

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District continues to plan ahead for large infrastructure projects to ensure funds are available when needed.

After several years of a zero percent increase in taxes, the KERHD Board of Directors approved a plan in 2020 to prepare for projects anticipated in the next 10 to 20 years. “This plan included taxation increases of $30 on the average residential property in each year 2020, 2021 and 2022,” explains CFO Holly Ronnquist. “Planning ahead for these large capital infrastructure projects now will reduce the amount of borrowing in the future and put monies saved on interest to these important projects.”

Interior Health is currently working on a business plan for the Green Home, a long term care home in Cranbrook. If the project goes forward it will see a complete rebuild of the structure and an increase in the number of beds from 60 to 130 (an increase of 70 beds). The KERHD’s share of that project is currently estimated to be $24 million.

The KERHD Board approved a motion in 2017 to support large infrastructure projects at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital for the laboratory, pharmacy, dialysis and oncology. Although no amount has been formally committed, the KERHD’s share of these projects is estimated to be over $100 million.

While Hospitals in Golden and Fernie haven’t seen significant investment in infrastructure in the last 20 years, the KERHD will be asked to fund a portion of these anticipated renewal projects sometime in the future.

In 2021, KERHD taxation on the average residential property assessed at $326,743 is $104.
“With property taxes arriving in mailboxes over the next few weeks, we felt it was important to communicate with residents within the KERHD boundary to let them know what to expect on their tax notice this year and the important projects those funds support,” adds Ronnquist.

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District (KERHD) covers a large area from Golden to Creston and the Elk Valley and funds up to 40% capital funding for acute care facilities in the region for equipment and facility construction and renovation. The Hospital District has a large Board of Directors comprised of representatives of every municipality and electoral area within the hospital district who make decisions on funding and taxation. Administration of KERHD is carried out by the Regional District of East Kootenay.

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Chair and Vice Chair Re-Elected by Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board for 2021

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board held its annual election for Chair and Vice Chair Friday and both incumbents were re-elected.

This will be Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher’s seventh term as Chair. “We have a diverse Board that works well together, and I am honoured to have been re-elected as Chair. I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the Hospital District and with Interior Health in the year ahead.”

Sparwood Mayor David Wilks will serve as Acting Chair for a third term. “I appreciate the support of my fellow Directors and look forward to another productive year with Chair McKerracher, the Board, staff and Interior Health,” says Wilks.

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District provides up to 40 percent capital funding for acute care facilities in the region for equipment and facility construction and renovation.

The Hospital District includes the entire RDEK as well as the Towns of Golden and Creston, and the portions of the Regional Districts of Central Kootenay and Columbia Shuswap surrounding those municipalities.

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McKerracher Re-Elected Hospital District Chair

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board has elected its Chair and Acting Chair for the coming year.

Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher has been re-elected Chair for a fifth term. “We have been very successful over the past year in our operations and in developing our facilities and I look to continuing to develop those facilites,” says McKerracher. “We are proud of our relationship with Interior Health and I look forward to continuing to build on that strong foundation.”

One of the projects KERHD has been advocating for is the redevelopment of the oncology, pharmacy, renal and lab areas at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital.  “As a board, we have been actively supporting this project. We proactively passed a motion in November 2017 to contribute 40% funding once the project moves forward. We are looking forward to seeing the oncology and pharmacy pieces move forward in 2019 and to seeing a master plan completed for the facility that will include a long term plans for the lab and renal services,” adds McKerracher.

Sparwood Mayor David Wilks has been elected as Acting Chair. “It is great to be back on the Hospital District Board. I am grateful to my fellow directors for their confidence in me and I look forward to the opportunity to serve as Acting Chair in the coming year,” says Wilks.

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District provides up to 40 percent capital funding for acute care facilities in the region for equipment and facility construction and renovation.

The Hospital District extends beyond the boundaries of the RDEK to include the Towns of Golden and Creston, and the portions of the Regional Districts of Central Kootenay and Columbia Shuswap surrounding those municipalities.

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Permanent MRI service under way at EKRH

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.47″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]Residents of East Kootenay now have increased access to diagnostic testing within the region with a new, permanent MRI machine, which began operating at East Kootenay Regional Hospital on June 11.

“This new permanent MRI service will more than double the number of exams performed at East Kootenay Regional Hospital, increasing access for hundreds of East Kootenay residents closer to home,” says Health Minister Adrian Dix. “The new MRI supports our B.C. Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy and is part of our commitment to an approximate 20 per cent increase in MRI exams across BC this year, which will reduce the uncertainty and pain caused by long waits for this important diagnostic service.”

Interior Health expects MRI testing in Cranbrook will increase from approximately 1,300 to more than 3,000 annual exams.

“MRI is a critical medical imaging tool that assists our clinicians in making a clear diagnosis for their patients,” says Interior Health Board Chair Dr. Doug Cochrane. “This is great news for residents of the East Kootenay, who will have access to this testing sooner and receive the definitive treatment they need faster.”

Total project cost – for the MRI suite and the MRI machine – was $5.65 million. The Province/Interior Health contributed $2.21 million; Kootenay East Regional Hospital District (KERHD) $2.14 million; East Kootenay Foundation for Health (EKFH) $650,000 – which included a $100,000 contribution from the Kimberley Health Care Auxiliary, $50,000 from the Invermere Health Care Auxiliary, $25,000 from the Elk Valley Foundation, and $100,000 from the Fostering the Future Foundation; and Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary (CHCA) $650,000.

“Our Board is committed to supporting projects that have a direct impact on patient care in this region, and we are proud to be funding partners on this vital new service,” says KERHD Board Chair Dean McKerracher. “We would like to thank the Ministry of Health, Interior Health and all the other funders who’ve joined together to make this project a reality.”

“Over the past number of years we have received countless questions about when our region would get a permanent MRI. Supporting the MRI project was a no-brainer for the East Kootenay Foundation for Health, as it will greatly improve health care in our region,” says Wes Rogers, EKFH board chair. “Thanks to the excitement about this campaign and the generosity of our donors, we reached our $650,000 goal in just five months.”

Auxiliary volunteers and donors also got 100 per cent behind its $650,000 fundraising campaign.

“Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary’s entire membership was in full support of contributing toward the MRI installation from the moment we learned that it was possible for our regional hospital,” said Bonnie Close, past president. “The members worked hard to raise funds and they appreciate all the contributions received towards this special project.”

In March 2018, government announced a surgical and diagnostic imaging strategy, which will improve timely access to surgery through a more efficient surgical system, and will help the Province catch up with and keep up with demand, starting with hip and knee replacement surgery and dental surgery. It will also improve the patient’s experience, by focusing on improving surgical pathways, co-ordination of care and information provided to patients. As part of the strategy, Interior Health will also see a 25.5% increase in MRI exams, for a total of 26,000 in 2018-19. Approximately $11 million in funding is being made available to increase MRI capacity provincewide in the public-health system, and achieve a total of 225,000 MRI exams in 2018-19.

The new permanent MRI machine replaces a shared mobile MRI unit that previously served East Kootenay Regional Hospital for one week every four weeks. The shared mobile unit will now provide improved access to MRI testing at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail and Penticton Regional Hospital.

TA Rendek and Associates Ltd. was the general contractor who oversaw the construction of the new MRI space – an approximate 200 square metre (2,150 square foot) addition on the east side of EKRH adjacent to the intensive care unit.

Background

MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a safe and painless test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the body’s organs and structures. MRIs are used to diagnose a number of medical conditions, including abnormalities of the brain, as well as tumors, cysts and soft-tissue injuries in other parts of the body. MRI scans are important diagnostic tools that do not use radiation; however, other types of diagnostic imaging – x-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) – are more appropriate tools for many types of medical conditions.

In addition to the mobile MRI unit, Interior Health has MRI units at Kelowna General Hospital and Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. Permanent MRI machines have been approved for Penticton Regional Hospital and Vernon Jubilee Hospital, both of which are expected to become operational in 2019.
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McKerracher Re-Elected KERHD Board Chair for 2018

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board has elected its Chair and Vice Chair for the coming year.

Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher has been re-elected Chair for a fourth term. “I thank my fellow Directors for their continued confidence in me and I look forward to serving another year,” says McKerracher. “We are proud of our relationship with Interior Health and look forward to continuing to work together to ensure our residents have access to the equipment and acute health care facilities they need.”

One of the larger projects KERHD has provided funding support for in the coming year is the Oncology, Pharmacy and Lab project this year at East Kootenay Regional Hospital.  “We are looking forward to seeing this project move forward,” adds McKerracher.

Regional District of Central Kootenay Electoral Area C Director Larry Binks has been re-elected as Acting Chair. “I look forward to working with Chair McKerracher and the entire Board and appreciate the opportunity to serve,” says Binks.

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District provides up to 40 percent capital funding for acute care facilities in the region for equipment and facility construction and renovation.

The Hospital District extends beyond the boundaries of the RDEK to include the Towns of Golden and Creston, and the portions of the Regional Districts of Central Kootenay and Columbia Shuswap surrounding those municipalities.

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IH celebrates start of construction for permanent MRI space at EKRH

REPOST FROM INTERIOR HEALTH

Residents of East Kootenay are one step closer to having increased access to diagnostic  testing within the region. Construction has started on the addition to East Kootenay  Regional Hospital (EKRH), which will be home to a new, permanent MRI service.

Rendek Group of Companies was selected as the general contractor overseeing the construction of the new MRI space – an approximately 200 square metre (2,150 square foot) addition on the east side of EKRH adjacent to the intensive care unit. Construction is expected to be complete in the spring of 2018, and the new MRI unit operational in the summer.

Today, East Kootenay residents receive MRI testing at a shared mobile MRI unit that comes to East Kootenay Regional Hospital for one week every four weeks. The new unit will mean the service is a permanent resource.

“We recognize the challenges residents face when they must travel to access health services. This permanent MRI will improve patient care by reducing the need for patients to travel or and will decrease the waiting time for an appointment,” says Interior Health Board Chair Dr. Doug Cochrane. “The permanent installation in Cranbrook also allows the mobile unit to be deployed for additional testing elsewhere in Interior Health.”

The total investment for the new MRI, which covers the cost of the machine and the renovations to EKRH, is $5.65 million. The Ministry of Health through Interior Health is contributing $2.21 million and Kootenay East Regional Hospital District (KERHD) $2.14 million to the MRI project, with the East Kootenay Foundation for Health (EKFH) and the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary covering the remaining $1.3 million.

“Our contribution to the permanent MRI in Cranbrook reflects the commitment from all our directors and our communities to investments that support access to a broad range of health-care services within the East Kootenay,” says KERHD Board Chair Dean McKerracher. “The Board is pleased to see that construction work on this important project is under way, and we look forward to the start of this enhanced service next year.”

The enthusiasm around the permanent MRI and the generosity of East Kootenay communities allowed the EKFH to achieve its 18-month campaign goal of $650,000 in just five months.

 

“We were overwhelmed with the community support we received for the MRI,” says Wes Rogers, EKFH Chair. “Charitable donations came from all over, from young children all the way to large corporations. So many people recognized the need for a permanent MRI and responded with tremendous generosity.”

The $650,000 in funding from the Auxiliary has also already been secured.

“The ongoing generosity of local residents and shoppers at our Thrift Store and Gift Shop, and our other fundraising efforts allowed us to meet our commitment to this important enhancement to diagnostic imaging services. All of our work is made possible through the dedicated efforts of our amazing volunteers and I can’t thank them enough,” says Bonnie Close, CHCA president. “Auxiliary members talk to area residents every day who are excited about the addition of the permanent MRI and the benefits of having an enhanced local service.  We can’t wait for it to open.”

Background

 MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is a safe and painless test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the body’s organs and structures. MRIs are used to diagnose a number of medical conditions, including abnormalities of the brain, as well as tumours, cysts and soft-tissue injuries in other parts of the body. MRI scans are important diagnostic tools that do not use radiation; however, other types of diagnostic imaging – x-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) – are more appropriate tools for many types of medical conditions.

In addition to the current mobile MRI unit (which also provides service in Penticton and Trail), Interior Health has MRI units at Kelowna General Hospital and Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. Permanent MRI machines have been approved for Penticton Regional Hospital and Vernon Jubilee Hospital, which are expected to become operational in 2019.

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KERHD Chair and Vice Chair Elected for 2017

Dean McKerracher (R) and Larry Binks (L) congratulate each other on their election as Chair and Vice Chair of the KERHD

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board has elected its Chair and Vice Chair for the coming year.

Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher has been elected Chair for a third term. “I am grateful for the opportunity to fulfill the role of Chair and thank my fellow Directors for their continued confidence in me,” says McKerracher. “As I look ahead to 2017, I am eager to continue to build on our strong working relationship with Interior Health; to celebrate the completion of some of the key projects that are underway; and, work cooperatively to ensure our residents have access to the equipment and acute health care facilities they need.”

Regional District of Central Kootenay Electoral Area C Director Larry Binks has been elected as Acting Chair. “My experience in pre-care and acute care gives me an understanding of the needs of the region. I believe this, combined with my nine years as member of the Hospital District Board and a previous term as Acting Chair, will be assets in my role as 2017 Acting Chair,” says Binks. “I look forward to working with Chair McKerracher and the entire Board and appreciate the opportunity to serve.”

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District provides up to 40 percent capital funding for acute care facilities in the region for equipment and facility construction and renovation.

The Hospital District extends beyond the boundaries of the RDEK to include the Towns of Golden and Creston, and the portions of the Regional Districts of Central Kootenay and Columbia Shuswap surrounding those municipalities.

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Grainger Thanked for Her Dedicated Service

KERHD Board Chair Dean McKerracher paid tribute to Donna Grainger at the KERHD Board Meeting this morning.

Grainger, who has been the Executive Director of the East Kootenay Foundation for Health (EKFH) for the past 11 years, has announced her retirement.  In the time she has been with EKFH, they have raised approximately $3.3 million dollars for needed medical equipment, patient comforts and other essential items at the Hospital and community Health Care facilities.

There have been some tremendous successes – like the Starlite Campaign, which has raised over $973,000 in 8 years and the “Clear View” campaign, which raised one million dollars, and was completed 13 months ahead of schedule.  Another example of success was the $500,000 raised in collaboration with Auxillaries of Invermere, Windermere, Radium and Edgewater for the Invermere Emergency Room Redevelopment.

“Donna, your passion for the Foundation and its work has been evident since the beginning and have directly contributed to the Foundation’s numerous achievements. We all recognize this was far more than a job for you and that you truly poured your heart into every day, every dollar, and every project.  You will leave big shoes to fill,: noted McKerracher. “You’ve truly left a legacy to be proud of and as you celebrate your retirement, we hope you’ll take that same passion into this next phase of your life and enjoy every single day.”

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McKerracher Re-Elected Hospital District Chair

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board has elected its Chair and Vice Chair for the coming year.

Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher has been elected Chair for this second term. “I am grateful to be able to continue on as Chair and thank my fellow Directors for their confidence in me,” says McKerracher. “2016 will be an exciting year, starting with the opening of the new ICU at the Kootenay East Regional Hospital, which this Board has been a supporter of from day one. I’m looking forward to its official opening and to continuing to build on the strong relationships we have as a Board and with Interior Health.”

Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft has been elected as Acting Chair. “I thank the Board of Directors for placing its trust in me and I look forward to working with Chair McKerracher and the entire Board for the coming year,” says Taft. This will be his first year as Acting Chair.

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District provides up to 40 percent capital funding for acute care facilities in the region for equipment and facility construction and renovation.

The Hospital District extends beyond the boundaries of the RDEK to include the Towns of Golden and Creston, and the portions of the Regional Districts of Central Kootenay and Columbia Shuswap surrounding those municipalities.

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McKerracher Elected KERHD Board Chair for 2015

L to R: 2015 Acting KERHD Chair Larry Binks and Board Chair Dean McKerracher

L to R: 2015 Acting KERHD Chair Larry Binks and Board Chair Dean McKerracher

There are some new faces at the helm of the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board as Dean McKerracher has been elected Chair and Larry Binks as Acting Chair for 2015.

“I am honoured to have received the support of my fellow Directors and I look forward to continuing to build on the strong relationships we have as a Board and with Interior Health,” says McKerracher. “Having spent the past three years as Acting Chair, I have learned a great deal from former Chair John Kettle and am excited about this new opportunity.”

Regional District of Central Kootenay Electoral Area C Director Larry Binks has been elected as Acting Chair. “I thank the Board of Directors for placing its trust in me and I look forward to the coming year,” says Binks. This will be his first term as Acting Chair.

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District provides up to 40 percent capital funding for acute care facilities in the region for equipment and facility construction and renovation.

The Hospital District extends beyond the boundaries of the RDEK to include the Towns of Golden and Creston, and the portions of the Regional Districts of Central Kootenay and Columbia Shuswap surrounding those municipalities.

 

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