Group approaches Wolfville council with ambitious plan to revamp care protocol
They’re calling it Health Revitalization
BY WENDY ELLIOTT
A room full of committed volunteers turned out last week to help convince Wolfville municipal leaders of the need to revitalize health care locally.
The Valley Regional Hospital Foundation and Valley Hospice Foundation are taking their partnership forward as they embark on a capital campaign to raise $8 million.
Former Wolfville mayor Gwen Phillips and former county warden Charlie Fraser spoke to town council Jan. 5 and called on the expertise in the audience.
They are looking to start raising the required funds to build the first stand-alone hospice in Nova Scotia, renovate the 16-year-old Kentville hospital and open the number of beds originally intended, purchase and renovate Annapolis Valley Health offices on Chipman Dr., add capital equipment, and cover capital campaign costs.
Fraser explained that $16 million is the total amount required, but the province is expected to kick in just over half.
One million dollars will be needed to purchase new emergency room equipment, as well as for other areas of the hospital.
Two million dollars has been committed already by those involved in health care, corporate donors and various Rotary clubs.
New model of care
According to Fraser, the $4 million estimated cost to build and equip the hospice won’t be covered by government, but an agreement means that ongoing operating costs will be.
Phillips said the eight-bed hospice project will provide a new model of care for the dying. It will be linked to Valley Regional Hospital for access to acute care.
She added that the needs of an aging demographic meant new and comprehensive planning has generally been necessary.
Fraser told councilors, “we’re all attached to the hospital.” He said coming directly to municipal leaders means no door-to-door campaign is envisioned. “The elephant in the room,” he said, “is the fact that health care is not a municipal responsibility,” but “we understand budget deliberations” might include a new collaborative formula, such as was used to fund Valley Waste Resources.
Over five years, the various projects will require contributions of $6 per person in Wolfville and similar amounts for residents of Kings and Annapolis Counties. Making the changes, Fraser noted, will keep the best health care professionals here.
AVHD CAO Janet Knox assured councillor Bill Zimmerman that the province is committed to paying all the increased operating costs that will result from the revitalization.
David Logie, who is AVDHD chair, told councillor Keith Irving that the district will look at the highest certification for environmentally sustainable construction.
Wolfvillle’s CAO Roy Brideau told the volunteers town will add the request into its 2009 budget consultations now underway. “We hope to table a budget in March,” he stated. “Of course, there are other players to consider.”
Wayne Woodman of Wolfville chairs the joint campaign management committee.