BC health facility amalgamation would mean $20M gift to Catholic Church, no access to assisted dying

Looks like a couple of years ago there was concern that the only hospice in the region covered by Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley facility was Catholic-run, and so would not provide medically-assisted dying. There was going to be funding made available for 2 new hospice beds and it wasn’t clear who was going to get to run them.

More recently and in response, an Equal Access Committee advocacy group was set up to fight this and other threats to equal medically-assisted dying access in the area. With only 11.5% of residents self-identifying as Catholic, a 2000-signature petition and an 88 doctor-strong voice to make hospice secular, hopes were high.

Fast-forward to last month and the good news is that Island Health decided to take the 2 new beds and the 4 beds previously under Catholic contract and place them in a (TBD) secular facility instead (yay!)

But at the same time there is a plan to transfer the secular Glacier View Lodge facility to a new Catholic-owned charity (incorporation Jan 4, 2017) called Providence Residential and Community Care Services Society (PRCC). As Scott Stanfield of the Comox Valley Record writes, following this week’s public meetings on the subject, this would amount to a $20 Million ‘gift’ to the Catholic Church!:

Cut through the legalese and it is obvious when you follow the money that the assets of GVL would go to a society (PRCC) totally controlled by the Catholic Church, and that if PRCC were wound-up or dissolved the assets would go where the Catholic Church decided.

Scott Stanfield, Comox Valley Record (July 24, 2017)

That’s in addition of course to removing any hope of medically-assisted dying at Glacier View Lodge.

However! Possibly more good news as there are reports from the Equal Access Committee just in the past week of the staff at GVL leaking to people that the ‘amalgamation’ is off! Hopefully we’ll get some official confirmation from the BC Ministry of Health or the GVL board soon.

(Update 2017-7-26: Replaced “Victoria Island” with “Vancouver Island”)

 

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