General News · 31st August 2010
This is an update on the operating format for the Cortes Community Health Association.
As most of you know, the CCHA is a non-profit organization that owns and operates the Cortes Health Centre. The mandate of the Association is to operate and maintain the clinic for the benefit of the Cortes community, and to ensure continuity of medical services. Our obligation is to the Cortes community, not to any particular practitioner.
At the end of 2009, it became clear that the clinic’s very existence could be jeopardized by the absence of one or more practitioners, regardless of the reasons. Consequently, the CCHA has agreed with VIHA to provide an operational and funding model whereby, the CCHA agrees to provide a turn-key operation for the physician, nurse practitioner and other healthcare professionals. This includes operational services such as support staff, accounting functions, a manager, cleaners, office supplies, computer systems and utilities. The CCHA must maintain and upgrade the facility. The physician no longer operates a quasi-private practice model, with responsibility for delivering non-medical, administrative service to VIHA and the community.
Under this new model, the physician must enter into a contract with the CCHA to lease office space and to receive operational services. Payments must be made promptly so we can keep the clinic open for 52 weeks per year.
When the CCHA enters into a lease with a doctor, the board must take into consideration many factors, foremost of which is the continuity of service at the clinic. The board must also have confidence that the doctor supports the administrative and financial model that the CCHA has agreed upon with VIHA. Contrary to several recent suggestions published by former patients of Dr. Overhill, the board does not make decisions based on the competency to practice of individual physicians, or on personal or capricious preferences of individual board members. Such suggestions fail to recognize the integrity and intelligence of board members, and unfairly characterize the board’s decision as a judgment on individual doctors’ ability to practice.
The CCHA Board is an elected body, tasked by the community with managing the clinic, and nurturing the services it provides. In the course of its work, the CCHA Board must take into consideration many difficult, often confidential, factors and balance all these with financial realities that are not immediately accessible to all members of the community. Some decisions may lack popular appeal, but still remain faithful to the best interests of the community, as perceived by the CCHA Board members. It is time to recognize that people serving on the CCHA and various other community boards on Cortes must often take difficult and unpopular decisions – they cannot indulge personal preferences or loyalties, neither can they ignore the complexity and financial limitations that attend most board decisions. They must do what it takes to deliver on the board’s mandate.
The CCHA Board will strive to build upon what the community as a whole has achieved: one of the best rural health facilities in BC, one of the most generously served populations in the country, and an operating cost that is considerably less than that experienced by doctors in any Gulf or Discovery Island clinic operating under a VIHA contract.