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General News · 9th November 2010
Mary Dudley
Information and documents concerning Dr. Kirstie Overhill, the Cortes Community Health Association (CCHA) and the Vancouver Health Authority (VIHA)

Editor's Note: There are no attachments here on the Tideline. This is just the cover letter to the many documents. The purpose of this posting is to alert the community that a "bundle" has been sent to the bodies listed below. A copy of the bundle will be available at the November 15th meeting.

This package contains documents pertaining to a recent decision by the Vancouver Island Health Authority to not reappoint Dr. Kirstie Overhill, an incumbent with 11 years practice, to the position as the Cortes Island physician following a eight month period of leave for illness.

On July 28, 2010 seven of the twelve members of Cortes Island Community Health Association Board (three of whom had only been members of the board for three months) met and made a decision (but not by motion) to refuse to negotiate a rental lease with Dr. Overhill (see attachment 14 and 14b, CCHA Minutes of the July 28 meeting).

The concern of the community is that the actions of the CCHA Board of Directors at that meeting resulted in VIHA withdrawing their offer of a contract to Dr. Overhill after her sick leave (see attachment 2, October 15, 2010, letter from Ann Marr, Executive Director, Health Authorities Division, Ministry of Health Services) despite that VIHA had previously offered her this position in a letter dated May 18, 2010 (attachment 17).

Cortes Island has thus lost a dedicated and extremely competent doctor. How can 7 people overlook 11 years of dedicated service to over 800 patients without a reason (see attachment 10, August 31, 2010 letter from CCHA to Kirstie Overhill).

An outpouring of support for Dr. Overhill from the people of Cortes Island resulted, including a petition, submitted to CCHA, VIHA and the Minister of Health with signatures of more than eighty percent of the CCHA members and 56 published letters ( Tideline) supporting the reappointment of Dr. Overhill as the physician for Cortes Island. One letter posted was from Dr. Donna Dryer, who wrote as a member of the community and as a psychiatrist, who had worked with Dr. Overhill for three years (see attachment 8e).

Ethical and Legal Points:
1. A CCHA Board Director, who has been reported to have had a personal conflict with Dr. Overhill failed to recuse themselves at the July 28, 2010 meeting, as is required by the BC Society Act. This Board member may have had confidential information regarding a physician/patient interchange, thus being in a doubly conflicted position.
If this Director had recused themselves there would not have been a legal quorum.

2. The July 28, 2010 CCHA Board meeting did not follow correct procedures. No motion was recorded in the minutes, no vote recorded; the minutes were never signed off.

Due to the possibility of a conflict of interest of a CCHA Board member, and the flawed process, the decision of the board may not be factually valid. The CCHA Board misrepresented themselves and their decision may not be legal under the BC Society Act. VIHA was misled when they refused to offer Dr. Overhill a contract. The CHHA Board does not have the mandate or the professional expertise to dismiss or choose a doctor (see attachment 1, October 20, 2010 statement by John Woolley.

The documents attached to this letter are numbered and ordered by date and provide a complete record of publications and all events which have taken place.

Mary Dudley

Howard Waldner, Vancouver Island Health Authority President and CEO
Richard Crow, VIHA Chief Medical Officer
Jac Kruet, Chair, Vancouver Island Health Authority
1952 Bay Street, Victoria, B.C. V8R 1J8

Dr. Kirstie Overhill;
CCHA Board of Directors;
British Columbia Medical Association;
College of Physicians & Surgeons British Columbia