Interior Health battles growing capital project cost pressures – Cranbrook Daily Townsman
The costs of the FW Green Home expansion in Cranbrook remain unknown as Interior Health grapples with mounting construction, inflation and supply chain pressures for healthcare projects in the area.
Todd Mastel, General Manager, Business Operations at Interior Health, provided a number of updates on local health care initiatives during a meeting with the East Kootenay Regional Hospital District Board on Friday. .
Items included the FW Green Home expansion business plan, planning and renovations currently underway at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital, and other initiatives at East Kootenay healthcare facilities. Kootenay.
Mastel noted that Interior Health is doing what it can for capital project budget challenges triggered by inflation and supply chain issues.
“We have our standard bag of tricks when we see cost pressures,” Mastel said. “We are looking at the scope, is there anything we can do? We’re doing more work, in terms of manpower, internally than we’ve ever had to try to help mitigate that.
“And we work with all of our hospital district partners when we need to maintain reach and where we have cost pressures.”
The FW Green Home project is a proposed expansion of the Cranbrook facility from 60 to 130 long-term care beds. Although specific plans remain in the works, the vision – based on previous board discussions – is to build a new building on an adjacent vacant property, move everything there, then demolish and rebuild. the existing structure.
This is a project that will be expensive, but the costs of capital health care projects are shared 60% by the province and 40% by local taxes collected through the KERHD jurisdiction.
In 2020, the KERHD Board of Directors approved tax increases for three fiscal years to prepare for expected costs associated with major infrastructure projects. At the time, the hospital board’s cost share of the FW Green Home expansion was estimated at $24 million. Under the 60/40% cost-sharing agreement between the province and the regional hospital board, this would mean a total budget of over $60 million for the entire FW Green Home expansion project.
Wilks noted that he tried to get answers on the estimated budget costs during a recent meeting with interior health officials and hospital board chairs.
“At the IH meeting, I asked the question: ‘How much will the Green House cost us?’ And it was silence,” Wilks said. “So that tells me that’s high, very high, and they’re really uncomfortable going back on that chart because they know it’s going to be a sticker shock.”
Additional updates from Mastel focused on the East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook, in particular the $3.5 million pharmacy expansion, as well as planning for new kidney and oncology departments as well as a forthcoming relocation of existing oncology services.
Interior Health is planning the future of oncology and nephrology services at ERKH, with a business plan expected to be completed by September 2023, while the current oncology space is expected to be temporarily moved from the third floor on the ground floor during the summer months.
Following some supply issues that have caused delays, the renovation of the pharmacy is expected to be substantially complete by July.
Installation of the new SPECT CT scanner was delayed, again due to supply issues, while IH was also reluctant to prepare the site as it meant closing existing nuclear medicine departments, according to Mastel. However, construction is underway and the $2.2 million project is expected to be largely complete by August.
After discussion, the board also passed a motion to hold a strategic priority planning session outside of the quarterly board meeting schedule. A conflict of capital project priorities between locally elected board members and Ministry of Health and Homeland Health officials has been a long-standing issue, as both sides will bring projects with rankings of different priorities at the table during budget season.