The Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District board is concerned about having to fund more than just hospitals like the one in the Comox Valley. Photo by Mike Chouinard

The Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District board is concerned about having to fund more than just hospitals like the one in the Comox Valley. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Comox Strathcona board worried over funding more than hospitals

Island Health points to seniors care to reduce demand at acute care sites

Members of the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District (CSRHD) are again questioning whether their mandate might be expanding.

Typically, the board, comprised of local and regional elected members for the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts, has overseen the 40 per cent share of capital funding, raised locally, for acute care facilities such as the North Island Hospital campuses in Courtenay and Campbell River. Even though the hospitals are relatively new, both have been affected by capacity concerns.

As a guest, Island Health chair Leah Hollins spoke to the board at the start of its strategic planning sessions on the morning of Jan. 21, alluding to the need to see beyond acute care facilities to include a whole spectrum of care needs. Island Health staff were joining the sessions to assist the regional board. Hollins referred to the many people in acute care who do not need to be and would be better served in other facilities such long-term care, assisted living and group homes.

“By supporting these types of initiatives, you will be supporting a continuum of care,” she told the CSRHD board during the online meeting.

This is especially the case, she said, when it comes to solving capacity issues at acute care sites, and she stressed capacity is not a challenge that simply affects the region or the province.

“Over-capacity is something we are seeing nationally and internationally,” she said.

RELATED STORY: Long-term care need pressuring acute care in Comox Valley, Strathcona

Hollins also talked about the devastating impact of COVID-19 but covered some unexpected positive developments because of changes brought on by COVID-19 considerations. For example, by using virtual care, neurologists were able to cut waiting lists for MS patients of a year down to less than a month. As well, virtual appointments, she added, have allowed people in rural areas to reduce travel demands for visits.

Her comments about supporting other types of initiatives beyond acute care touched off a discussion about whether the CSRHD board would be asked to provide funding to capital projects such as residential care facilities.

Island Health staff clarified that, as in other areas, the Ministry of Health can approve a region to fund other kinds of facilities as long as the ministry has named that facility as eligible. They also reiterated a point that arose during a presentation to the CSRHD board at a meeting last fall about how much of the overcapacity at new facilities like the North Island Hospitals is from people who should be at facilities other than acute care sites. Island Health hopes this can be alleviated through more long-term care facilities for seniors.

There were still questions among the CSRHD board if it would be their own decision to take on capital costs beyond acute care facilities. Some also wondered whether they would be charged with taking on operating costs, which have not been part of the hospital district mandate.

‘The province has left it completely open,” said Jim Abram, one of the board members from the SRD.

Other board members were concerned all of this might result in a ‘pay to play’ model that could affect funding from the province for regions to add infrastructure like long-term care beds, though Island Health staff responded they will be funding beds for communities in any case.

The discussion was followed by break-out groups to look at planning issues. The groups later brought forth their main concerns raised in the sessions, including seniors’ care, opiate addiction and mental health supports. Island Health will be planning virtual meetings with different geographic groupings from the board as a follow-up to the Jan. 21 meeting.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Hospitals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Courtenay skateboarder selected to first-ever national team

A young man from Courtenay is among 12 athletes who have been… Continue reading

A WestJet flight on the runway leaving Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Aviation company seeks contracted employees to fill former WestJet roles at YQQ

Menzies Aviation from Edinburgh Park, Scotland, operates in 34 countries across the world

A cougar was spotted Monday near Queneesh Elementary. (WildSafe BC photo)
Cougar sighted Monday near Courtenay school

Conservation officers are warning the public to avoid the wooded areas around… Continue reading

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
SD71 to address COVID-19 exposures with virtual town hall

The meeting is set for Thursday, March 4

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale, owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut down after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19. (Nora O’Malley photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at Tofino Resort and Marina

Resort apologizes to Hesquiaht First Nation for Valentine’s Day boating incident.

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Most Read