Regional hospital board demands respect as Fraser Health funding request tabled

Abbotsford director John Smith complained the Fraser Valley Hospital District is “treated as a cash cow” by Fraser Health.

A $1.2 million funding request from the Fraser Health Authority was tabled in an unanimous vote by directors of the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District board Tuesday.

Abbotsford director John Smith complained the hospital district is “treated as a cash cow” by the FHA rather than a partner in delivering health care in the Fraser Valley.

“We’re not (given) real respect for the role we play,” he said, and moved the request be tabled until the next FVRHD board meeting and talks are held to “re-establish” the partnership.

The $1.2 million is 40 per cent of the FHA’s total $2.9 million in capital costs for hospital equipment needs in 2011-2012.

Those needs include an estimated $1.3 million to remedy “extensive envelope failures” that have “compromised the safety of the workplace environment” at Parkholm Lodge where a new $2.7-million, 20-bed mental health unit was opened by provincial and FHA officials last October.

“These failures are due to systemic leaking problems and the existence of mold,” FHA financial systems director Brenda Ligett said in a letter to the FVRHD board.

The funding request also includes an estimated $110,000 to replace an “obsolete and outdated” call system that connects patients to nurses at Chilliwack General Hospital.

The existing system is 18 years old and replacement parts are no longer available, Ligett said in the letter.

The list of equipment needs also included a request for $350,000 to complete the third phase of electrical system upgrades at Mission Memorial Hospital, and a total $866,350 for equipment projects under $100,000.

Director Dennis Adamson, who seconded Smith’s motion to table the request, asked Ligett when some “significant” funding would be spent at the Fraser Canyon hospital.

She said some “bigger pieces of equipment” are coming to the hospital.

“It’s on the list for 2013-14,” she said.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

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