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Proposal to have hospice operations funded by local government rejected by the UBCM
Cowichan Valley Hospice and the Cowichan Valley Regional District recently went all in, asking the provincial government if it would change legislation to fund both local hospice care’s capital and operational costs.
Unfortunately for them, it didn't get the support it wanted from local government. A motion recently brought to the September UBCM conference table, was passed but stripped of the operational funding portion.
That means local hospice funding is finding itself back in its present funding situation.
“It would be a very interesting to have an option for hospice funding in this budget line and we are hopeful that this will open a door for a regional partnership with the Health Authority,” executive director Gretchen Hartley said before the decision.
“Cowichan Valley Hospice has received regional-grants-in aid in the past two years from the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD),” explained Hartley. “We have asked that they consider providing some ongoing operational funding.
“The CVRD is very supportive of the work of hospice but would also like to encourage increased partnership with our health authority. Therefore, CVRD directors voted in the spring to take a motion to the Union of B.C. Municipalities that, if passed by the members, will ask the province to allow regional hospital boards to also support hospices with operational and capital funding.”
That didn’t play out.
“There was apparently some resistance to this resolution at the UBCM on the part of municipalities who see this motion as downloading from provincial to local governments,” Hartley said. “For our part (hospice), we are very interested in the opportunity for this type of partnership between our community and VIHA.
“We received a $50,000 grant-in-aid from the CVRD last year as anchor funding for our services, which have received limited funding from VIHA thus far, also in the form of one-time grants. I hope that we will be able to secure hospice services in the future with ongoing funding from both these sources, naturally with VIHA as the main funder.”
Sahtlam/Glenora Director Loren Duncan admitted it’s not going to be easy to get the provincial government to cross the line between capital and operational funding.
But at the same time, Duncan is 100% behind giving the feds a little push.
“We’ve certainly kicked the ball over to them,” Duncan said. “We should have a nice hospice facility.
If we had a nice hospice facility, and a new hospital, couldn’t our new hospital be built smaller?” Duncan said.
“What would the size and cost difference be, if that hospital wasn’t plugged up with hospice candidates? The logic is sound, but it’s so far out there. But it needs to be said.”
Cowichan Valley Hospice serves about 800 people a year.
Ten years ago, it had fewer than 100 people use their services per year.
“We work closely with other partners in the community including VIHA’s hospital and community based services for people living with advancing illness and at the end of life,” Hartley said.
“Our bereavement services also provide care for people referred through VIHA’s mental health programs.”