OUR HEART IS IN HEALTH CARE, WELLNESS, AND INNOVATION
This sentiment seemed to be a shared theme aboard the Barley Run Train that left Aspen Crossing on Friday, June 23rd. All aboard were celebrating the signed Memorandum of Understanding between Alberta Health Services and the Vulcan County Health and Wellness Foundation.
This agreement allows the process to move into the Construction Phase of the Health Centre Expansion representing 13,000sq.ft. of new space, with ground breaking set for the spring of 2018 and completion targeted for 2019. The proceeds from the Barley Run Train of approximately $40,000.00 (including matched funds) and other recent donations leave the Foundation with $400,000 remaining to be raised for this project.
Health care in Vulcan has a long history of grassroots support and responsive action. Again, our hospital needs upgrades in areas such as the lab, physiotherapy, adult day support, palliative care and increased clinic office space. A proposal to construct new clinic space was put forward by the Foundation for this capital project and accepted by AHS in April, 2016. Building codes required for clinic construction are less costly than other medical use space so this was the most economical choice for the Foundation. This clinic relocation also allows for the future expansion of the lab, and movement of Community Health Services and increased palliative care space into the vacated clinic area. As well, Physiotherapy and Adult Support programming will move from the basement into the new expansion area allowing better access to users. Complementing the services is a Wellness Centre which will connect users to programs, services, information and support, to help them and their families on a path to a healthier lifestyle. Innovative technology will be incorporated to encourage people to focus on prevention as well as cure.
The Community Health Centre is one of the largest employers in Vulcan County with over 130 employees and many regular volunteers. More than $5,000,000 of tax dollars goes into the operation of this site annually. This expansion not only supports the increasing needs and opportunities in health care, it also ensures employability of its health care workers and a wide variety of skilled labor.
After a day of meetings in Vulcan, Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services, speaking on behalf of AHS, stated:
“We are grateful for the Vulcan County Health and Wellness Foundation and their efforts to help drive innovation for one of the largest capital projects in rural Alberta...Innovations developed here in Alberta are being recognized and adapted by health systems internationally and we are excited to share in these advancements.”
Through the generous support of its donors and partners, Vulcan County and Town of Vulcan, the Foundation has raised more per capita than any of the 69 other Health Foundations in the Province to date. The expansion is a great start on a 30 year plan for Health and Wellness in the County.
People are encouraged to stop in at the Foundation office in the VBDS building in Vulcan to see the expansion plans and share their thoughts. As well, the process can be followed on the website at www.vchwfoundation.com and on Facebook and Twitter.
This is the first of many projects resulting in great benefits in the health care sector for all citizens of Vulcan County. Both AHS and the Foundation salute the generous donations and support from businesses, residents and organizations.
The Foundation is delighted to receive the submitted names of local construction contractors to its office to forward to AHS for approval to work with the main contractor. These employment opportunities will enhance the regional economic spin offs as contractors begin working on the site.