On Feb. 18, the East Kootenay hospital board elected new leadership and passed the 2022 capital budget containing a number of proposed projects for health care facilities in the region.
The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District (KERHD) Board green-lit a $10.8 million budget, with the largest item being a $1.8 million Primary Care Network in Golden.
KERHD will be contributing $740,000, while the Province will provide the remaining $1,110,000.
Primary Care Networks enable care providers to practice team-based care to support their patients, says Interior Health.
In team-based care, patients can be treated by a number of different health-care professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, social workers and more, depending on the patient’s needs.
The idea is to create a network of care for individuals within the community, limiting the needs to get care outside of the community.
“Interior Health would like to thank the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District for approving our funding request, which will go towards primary care services in Golden,” read a statement from Interior Health.
“We are investigating options for space to locate health-care professionals who will work within the Primary Care Network in Golden.”
Todd Mastel, director, business operations with Interior Health, says IH is looking at two options to lease space – one close to the Golden Hospital and one that’s further away – which will be used by staff that are going to be recruited into the area.
In September of 2020, the province announced that approximately 660 new full-time equivalent health professionals would be part of 22 primary care networks coming throughout the province over the three to four years.
The creation of these networks have brought together community partners, local health-care providers and Indigenous partners working together to ensure patients have access to a full range of team-based primary care services, from maternity to end of life, for all of their day-to-day health-care needs, according to the health authority.
“For people and families, it means getting faster, better access to their primary care team or provider, including evenings and weekends, as well as being connected to appropriate services and supports in the community,” reads the government website.
These networks are expected to help connect approximately 300,000 people to a local primary care team or provider.
In addition to the primary care network, $22,000 has been allocated for the replacement of a retaining wall at the Golden & District Hospital in the budget. The province will be contributing an additional $33,900.
The Hospital District extends beyond the boundaries of the RDEK to include the Towns of Golden and Creston, and the portions of the Regional Districts of Central Kootenay and Columbia Shuswap surrounding those municipalities.
–with files from Trevor Crawley