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

Thousands attend speech by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leader in Langley

President Russell M. Nelson is accepted by the church as a prophet, seer, and revelator

VIDEO: Rough days for Langley Rivermen

Chilliwack Chiefs proved tough opponents in back-to-back games

Free day at the new Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre

Event held to mark completion of the project coincides with $17K donation by Aldergrove Rotary Club

Langley Rams vanquish Chilliwack Huskers

The highlight of the game was a late game goal line stand

Cloverdale, Langley Thanksgiving food drive collects ‘record-breaking’ amount of food

Annual food drive collected 35,000 lbs of food for Langley Food Bank

B.C. tent city ‘devastated’ after flash flood

Maple Ridge mayor says that residents shouldn’t have to return to their flooded tents

Allegations against Kavanaugh pose test for #MeToo movement

Aside from the Ford-Kavanaugh showdown, this has been a tumultuous season for the #MeToo movement

Parents of B.C. toddler who died in unlicensed daycare sue over negligence

‘Baby Mac’ was only 16 months old when he died in a Vancouver daycare

5 to start your day

A man charged in the death of Belgian tourist, a Syrian family feeling safe in B.C. and more

Syrian family can, finally, feel safe after settling in B.C.

Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity White Rock meets sponsored family for the first time

1st private moon flight passenger to invite creative guests

The Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mrs. Maisel’ triumph at Emmys

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most historically diverse field of nominees yet, the early awards all went solely to whites.

Korean leaders meet in Pyongyang for potentially tough talks

South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.

Russia blames Israel for plane shot down by Syrian missile

A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was brought down over the Mediterranean Sea as it was returning to its home base inside Syria, killing all 15 people on board.

Most Read