Facilities report points to aging hospitals

IH determined that KBRH has a total replacement cost of just under $84 million.

  • Nov. 30, 2013 7:00 a.m.

The public at least now knows how much it would cost to replace the aging Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) and how much it would cost to upgrade it to “as new” condition, following Wednesday night’s presentation by Interior Health to the board of the West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District (WKBRHD)

The Interior Health Capital Strategy and Facility Assessment determined that KBRH has a total replacement cost of just under $84 million and, using an industry standard formula, would cost in the neighbourhood of $45 million in repairs and upgrades to bring it up to a standard that could be considered as good as new.

The assessment, referred to as a Facility Condition Index (FCI), does not include all conceivable costs in the retrofitting of an entire health care facility but does take into account the physical condition of the facility as well as the condition and age of its various mechanical, electrical, plumbing systems.

The value of the assessment will be its use as a planning tool for IH and the WKBRHD in determining future capital projects to upgrade and maintain the facility.

“This is similar to a 2003 report that was used for capital planning in the past,” said Ingrid Hampf, acute care area director. “The new version updates facilities information, upgrades, status, bricks and mortar.”

In the 10-year period following the last assessment approximately $10.5 million was spent on capital projects and $19.4 million on capital equipment at KBRH.

However, Hampf stressed that the condition of the various facilities was not the only factor in determining capital projects for the health care authority.

“This is only one of 11 pieces of information that IHA and the province uses in planning,” she said. “A major driver is around the projected demand for the services that the facility offers in the future, what programs need to function, the needs for clinicians in the area. You can’t read too much into one report.”

The planning process for determining capital projects is established as a joint venture between IHA and the WKBRHD with the hospital district paying for 40 per cent of the projects and the provincial government and hospital foundations covering the remaining 60 per cent.

“The foundations are great players,” said Hampf. “All the donors in the communities help to purchase equipment needed at the facilities.”

But while much has been made of the dollars, not much has been said of the years.

With the exception of the Arrow Lakes Hospital in Nakusp all of the major health care facilities in the region; 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.

Although KBRH, being the largest facility in the region and one of the oldest at 60 years young, does carry a substantial price tag for upgrades to bring it to “as new” status, the same can be said for every other facility in the district.

“It does take a lot of investment to keep facilities in shape,” said Hampf. “But we had a similar report in 2003 and we’re still here.”