Cranbrook ICU still on the wishlist

Hospital board continues push to have cramped intensive care unit replaced at East Kootenay Regional Hospital

Interior Health and the local hospital district board are uniting to urge the Ministry of Health for nearly $20 million.

A replacement of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook has been a high priority for both organizations for years.

When Interior Health staff met with the Kootenay East Regional Hospital Board on Friday, February to go over capital projects for 2013, the ICU was at the front of everyone’s mind.

“We need a new ICU, so anything new for us is a win. We will live with whatever the ministry comes down with,” said newly appointed hospital board chair John Kettle. “Knock on wood, we have used every inch of political capital we have and every meeting we could get to, to convince the powers that be that we need this ICU and we are going to continue to do that till the cows come home.”

While the cost of replacing the ageing ICU, which contains four beds in a tight space, is estimated at around $10.5 million, with that construction comes mandatory upgrades to the electrical system at Cranbrook’s hospital to bring it up to the latest CSA standards. All up, the project is expected to cost $19.9 million, which requires special funding from the Ministry of Health.

Todd Mastel, director of business support for Interior Health, told the hospital board that a business case for the ICU expansion has been presented to the ministry.

“We have been working with the ministry on the vetting process, looking at the details and providing some information back,” said Mastel. “That business case is at the ministry as we speak.”

Meanwhile, the hospital board agreed to contribute to six Interior Health capital projects in 2013. Under the funding model with the Ministry of Health, the hospital board puts in 40 per cent of a project cost, and the health authority the remaining 60 per cent.

This year’s capital projects include: replace emergency generator at Invermere and District Hospital ($240,000 hospital district share); anatomic pathology renovation at EKRH ($100,000); chiller upgrade at Sparwood Health Centre ($28,000); medical oxygen system and storage upgrade at Creston Valley Hospital ($22,000); physiological monitoring system at EKRH ($220,000); and microbiology analyzer at EKRH ($80,000).

The board did not approve capital funding request for special care homes in Kimberley and Golden. Communication system upgrades were approved under a global grant.