By Tina Comeau
The new CT scanner installed at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital earlier this year has been heralded for the technology it offers and the services it provides for patients who can receive treatment at home without the need to travel hundreds of kilometres to access that treatment elsewhere.
And the next phase of a medication management system being implemented is also seen as very important.
But such items come with a cost – and a hefty one at that. For instance the CT scanner costs around $1.43 million. The provincial government is covering 75 per cent of the bill. As the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation continues its campaign to raise the community’s portion to cover the costs of these items, one area it has turned to are the local municipal units in the region.
At its July 10 meeting, Yarmouth town council approved a motion for the share it has been asked to contribute – roughly $69,000.
It will spread the money out over three budget years starting in 2015-2016.
Councillor Phil Mooney, who made the motion, noted the CT Scanner is an important piece of equipment, not only for the service it provides to patients but also as a recruitment tool for medical professionals. Initially his motion was to split the town’s financial contribution over two years. That didn’t sit well with Councillor Danny MacIsaac.
“We should not (forget) where our responsibility lies, and our responsibility lies with the taxpayers,” MacIsaac said. “This, to me, is more of a provincial budget issue than a municipal issue.”
MacIsaac was concerned over the financial burden this would put on the town’s upcoming budgets.
“I’m not against the hospital foundation, I’m not, but this is more about putting it on the backs of the municipal taxpayers,” he said. “I’m not 100 per cent behind it.”
When it was suggested by Deputy Mayor Jim
MacLeod that the contribution be split over three budget years, MacIsaac seemed more comfortable with that scenario.
Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood did express concern over the formula used by the hospital foundation that sees the town paying roughly one-third of the overall contribution being sought from several municipal units.
The formula is based on in-patient days of a municipal unit during the most recent fiscal year.
The new CT scanner was installed a few months ago. It is a crucial imaging tool for cancer, stroke and other chronic illnesses, and in cases of trauma and other emergencies. The new scanner is more versatile – extending the capabilities the hospital can offer – and allows examinations to be conducted at a much lower radiation dose.