The Fraser Valley Regional Hospital Board has earmarked nearly $60 million over two years for new long term care beds in Chilliwack and Abbotsford. (Metro Creative photo)

The Fraser Valley Regional Hospital Board has earmarked nearly $60 million over two years for new long term care beds in Chilliwack and Abbotsford. (Metro Creative photo)

Hospital board earmarks nearly $60 million for long term care in Chilliwack and Abbotsford

There are currently 1,597 funded long-term care beds in Fraser East

Nearly $60 million has been set aside for long-term care beds in Chilliwack and Abbotsford by the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital Board.

The hospital board approved the budget at their March 17 meeting, which included capital funding under the lines: Contribution to Abbotsford/Chilliwack Campus of Care.

Just over $20 million is earmarked for Abbotsford in 2023 in the five-year capital plane, and $11.5 million in 2024. Similarly, $14.9 million is being set aside in 2023 for Chilliwack, and just over $13.1 million in 2024.

A February budget presentation to the board explained that the 2023 would come from reserves and the the 2024 funding would come from new borrowing.

The funding is being set aside as capital for Fraser Health, who is responsible for creating beds for long term care in its communities. The plans for more beds for Fraser East have been in the works for some years, according to Fraser Health person.

There are currently 1,597 funded long-term care beds in Fraser East.

Long term care homes are not senior living homes. They are equipped for 24-hour nursing supervision and considered a clinical care service.

In Abbotsford, wait times for long term care range from six to 18 months currently. In Chilliwack, the wait can be up to two years.

“Fraser Health is committed to working with the Ministry of Health and our community stakeholders to enhance and add long-term care beds in Chilliwack and Abbotsford,” a media representative from Fraser Health told The Abbotsford News.

“In partnership with the Ministry of Health, Fraser Health is currently developing business plans related to long-term care beds in these communities. We are unable to provide any further information about proposed projects at this time, however, we will provide more information once details are finalized.”

They added that “Fraser Health looks at how existing long-term care beds are being utilized throughout our system and uses this information, along with population and demographic forecasts, to plan where to add additional long-term care beds in our communities.”

Some regional hospital funding comes from property taxes. Budget assumptions include calculations of the steep rise in property assessments this year, which have risen about 36 per cent over last year.

READ MORE: B.C. COVID-19 hospitalizations climb for the first time since February


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