Abbotsford Regional Hospital File photo

Fraser Health asking taxpayers for millions more in health care capital funding

Health authority wants Fraser Valley taxpayers to triple annual contribution to $5.75 million

Fraser Health wants local taxpayers to triple the amount they pay towards hospital capital and infrastructure projects over the next four years and kick in more than $20 million over that time span.

But Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun, who chairs the board of the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District (FVRHD), says increasing health care funding isn’t a burden that should fall on the shoulders of local government.

The health authority came to the hospital board in October to request an increase in annual funding from the current $1.8 million to $5.75 million, and discussions between the two organizations continue.

This year, an Abbotsford house worth $588,000 would pay $99 towards local hospitals. The Fraser Health proposal would push that sum over $300.

Hospital districts like the FVRHD are asked to fund a portion of infrastructure projects – often around 40 per cent – in local facilities. Money is raised through property taxes. The local share of funding is just a tiny part of Fraser Health’s $3.3 billion annual budget.

Braun said the board has been reviewing Fraser Health’s request and is likely to kick in more money. But he suggested Fraser Health won’t likely get the full amount requested, and said some of the projects could be classified as repair and maintenance, which is not to be funded through hospital boards. Braun also said the 40 per cent share is “not cast in stone.”

In a PowerPoint presentation shown to hospital district members in the fall, Fraser Health CEO Michael Marchbank outlined more than $67 million in infrastructure spending between 2017 and 2022 with which the health authority wants help. Fraser Health hopes the hospital district would kick in around $26 million towards that cost.

Most of that infrastructure spending would be on what the Fraser Health deems to be “equipment over $100,000,” defined as “priorities that cannot be further delayed.”

The biggest projects for this year include a $1.4 million “multipurpose angio/interventional suite” at Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH), and $1.2 million in “patient monitoring” equipment at Chilliwack General Hospital (CGH).

The health authority is also undertaking a $6.7 million upgrade to Fraser Canyon Hospital’s electrical system and a $2.7 million expansion of Mission’s community health centre.

Beyond this spring, Fraser Health’s budget foresees a need for $25 million of equipment upgrades at ARH and $13 million of new equipment at CGH.

Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma said that with ARH coming up on 10 years of operation, more equipment at the hospital is in need of replacement. If the hospital board refuses to fund the full amount requested, that doesn’t mean the equipment won’t be purchased. Instead, Juma said the health authority will “look for other ways to buy the equipment.”

Just Posted

Chilliwack prolific offender charged in four alleged incidents in 12 days

Branden Tanner busted for alleged smash-and-grab Nov. 30, then incidents Dec. 3, Dec. 8 and Dec. 11

Four companies vying to open cannabis stores in locations across Chilliwack

Rezoning applications for non-medical cannabis outlets pending, and some will require variances

Christmas cheer, crafts and music at Chilliwack and Yarrow libraries

Make festive ornaments out of old books while enjoying Christmas music at Chilliwack libraries

Sardis Falcons top Heritage Woods in field lacrosse opener

The Falcons rallied from a halftime hole to take a big win on the road in Port Moody.

Fleeing driver picks fight with Chilliwack police dog, loses

Good dog ‘Griff’ also locates large quantity of what police believe to be crystal meth in Abbotsford

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

MAP: Christmas light displays in the Lower Mainland

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read