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Interior Health signs new agreement with regional hospital districts

The memorandum of understanding strengthens transparency, communication
East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook. Google maps photo

Interior Health and the regional hospital districts within its jurisdiction have signed a new memorandum of understanding to strengthen existing partnerships related to budgeting and capital planning.

As part of the capital planning process, Interior Health identifies projects and sends a funding request to regional hospital districts each December, outlining the equipment, capital improvements and digital health investments for each region.

Capital health care projects are typically funded 60 per cent by the province and 40 per cent by regional hospital districts. However, individual regional hospital boards sometimes have their own priorities that don’t align with projects Interior Health has identified.

The MOU announced Nov. 23 will strengthen “information sharing, transparency and collaboration” between Interior Health and the regional hospital districts, while also outlining further expectations on updates to funded and proposed capital projects.

As part of the agreement, Interior Health has committed to share annual capital plans and forecasts for future priority investments, along with detailed information for major projects budgeted at over $5 million.

“Our regional hospital districts are key partners when it comes to capital projects in our regions,” said Susan Brown, IH president and chief executive officer.

“Their financial support to build, renovate and update our health-care facilities is integral to improve patient care and this agreement provides better clarity about the Interior Health planning and funding process.

“We value the feedback and information provided by the local representatives and this agreement lays out clear expectations regarding sharing information on the projects we are planning and have underway.”

The MOU will be reviewed every two years by Interior Health and the regional hospital districts.

A joint statement signed by the seven regional hospital board chairs noted the agreement addresses “a number of concerns” that were the focus of negotiations over the last few months.

“We are confident this memorandum of understanding is a positive step forward in terms of accountability and will serve to create a better working relationship between Interior Health and the Regional Hospital Districts,” reads the statement.

The seven regional hospital boards stretch from the Cariboo-Chilcotin to the East Kootenay and everywhere in between the southern B.C. Interior.

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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