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Big White Community Health Forum

As part of the BC goverment's "Conversation on Health Care 2007", communities are encouraged to hold public forums to discuss Health Needs and Plan for Health Service delivery. Residents and businesses of Big White are planning to host a local forum in March 2007. Representatives will then present results at our Regional Forum in Castlegar on May 25, 2007.
Big White Community Health Forum

Big White Health Care; Private or Public?

Currently there are no Regionally funded public medical services provided in the Community of Big White.  The Whitefoot Medical Clinic is the only medical services provider to the general public.  Medical Services are available weekdays, and some weekends.  There is also an ambulance which transports directly to Kelowna General Hospital (costing $70-$470 for a one way ride), and a weekend and school holiday "Ski Doc" program that services on-hill injuries at Ski Patrol.  As home to BC's second largest Ski Resort, with a growing adventurous population many residents and visitors have expressed concern and frustration that the BC goverment has failed to support or supply a more appropriate level of service.  It is the stated policy of IHA, Kootenay and Boundary District, that Big White is not being considered for Medical Services improvements.  As part of the Kootenay Boundary Region for Health Care, money is diverted from local taxes to support an aging population and declining economy South and East of Big White from Rock Creek to Castlegar. 

With a booming local economy and relatively affluent (and Privately Insured) patient population, Big White is poised to join the growing list of communities home to Private Health Care Facilities (such as the one recently opened in False Creek, Vanouver).  While this is likely to pose a boon health providers, and a much needed treatment option to non-residents, it will leave residents (with provincial MSP medical insurance) the choice of paying high user fees or travelling to Kelowna.  Since transport and service at the Hospital in Kelowna costs considerably more than local treatment would, MSP is subsidizing inefficient and inconvenient medical service.  For instance, a patient with  possible wrist fracture requiring ambulance and treatment at the hospital in Kelowna costs over $1200 without surgery (Canadian residents with valid health insurance only pay a fraction of this; the balance is covered by MSP).

In preparation for the Big White Forum on Health Care, a public information session will be held at the Whitefoot Medical Clinic from 6-9PM January 18th.  It is held in conjunction with the Clinic's Chamber of Commerce Business mixer.   A full public Forum is planned for March 2006, and discussions will form the basis of a community Medical Services Plan for Big White.  Representatives of Big White's Chamber of Commerce, BC Ambulance, BW Fire Dept., Big White Resort, Mountain Medical Society,  and Big White Ski Patrol are encouraged to attend.  A report of Proceedings will be presented to Ministry of Health Officials for inclusion in their Fall 2007 report.  More information is available at mybigwhite.com/community-board/conversation-on-health.

Interested community members are encouraged to attend the meeting, or subscribe to this online Forum.  They may also apply to attend one of the Regional Forums, in Kelowna or Castlegar.

UPCOMING COMMUNITY HEALTH FORUMS


Kelowna
Meeting Date: February 16, 2007
Registration Deadline: January 11, 2007
Grand Okanagan Lakefront Resort
1310 Water Street

Big White
Meeting Date: Late March 2007 (tba)
No Registration Required
Big White, BC

Castlegar
Meeting Date: May 25, 2007
Registration Deadline: April 13, 2007
Sandman Hotel
1944 Columbia Ave

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