Community First Health Co-op AGM
The CFHC which is celebrating its 10th year in the Lake Street Building, held their AGM on June 14, 2016 with a good turnout of members and guests.
The presentation for the evening was done by Drs Shiraz Moola and Kevin McKechnie. They were presenting on telehealth and what it could mean for our area. The realization that the two tier system of health in B.C. is now private or public, but in fact urban and rural. The difficulty for rural communities to access the same level of specialty care as a large centre creates long drives, long wait lists, extra expenses and safety issues for the people who need it.
Telehealth has been piloted in the area for maternity and allows visits from the local hospital or health centre to the doctors in larger centres. Visits to specialists can be costly and prohibitive for some people so they just do not go to access the help they need.
Telehealth would be an online face to face meeting with the patient, the local doctor and the specialist. Although there are some concerns re privacy, technology and issues to co-ordinate the people needed for the call, it seems to far be outweighed by the benefits.
The fields in which it seems Telehealth is making inroads to have specialists on board are urology, general surgery, pre-surgical screening, cardiology and psychiatry. Also some mobile maternity and ER/ ICU needs. If 1 out of every 3 patients who needed to see a specialist could use Telehealth it would save 2,614 patient visits, 9,410 hours and over $300,000 for the health system, plus the money saved in patient travel costs each year. Although this is a Kootenay –Boundary initiative, there are multiple projects province wide.
There would need to be incentives for telehealth to be successful from the physician’s perspective as it takes some organization for appointments and connections with specialists.
One of the audience members who had a skype follow-up after his surgery was most pleased with not having to go to Vancouver again.
The way to help is to advocate with the Ministry of Health as to the needs for rural or remote areas to have equality of care.
The AGM followed after some birthday cake and coffee to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the Wellness Centre at 518 Lake Street in Nelson. It has been an extraordinary 10 years.
The highlights of the AGM were:
- Deb Zeeben speaking about how the credit union co-ops and health co-ops both came to be in the 1950’s and how we are connected across the world in the co-op movement.
- The Wellness centre is about hope, help, care and choice as we try to be a catalyst for integrated health care.
- The determinants of health show that 25% is determined by wellness and 25% by community and social connectedness. As we continue to connect with our community through the Resource centre, involvement in low cost dental, seniors issues and affordable housing we are supporting wellness in the community.
- Deb will be leaving the board as she has served her 6 consecutive years but she will continue in an advisory positon and as past chair for the next year. Thanks for all you have done!
- The various board members reported on the Resource Centre, Low cost Dental, Heath Fair, Social media and promotion, the Wellness Centre and new partners and our connections in the community.
Pegasus McGauley, Marion Hunter, Eric Ramsden, Erin Morrison all in continuing terms, Lynn Adams and Sharon Browning beginning new 3 year terms and two new board members, Lonnie Facchina and Lynn Goodison.
Lynn Goodison retired from nursing in 2008 and is currently employed with the Nelson and District Seniors Co-ordinating Society as the Home Help Co-ordinator. She brings to the table a medical perspective.
The next meeting will be the Statutory meeting on June 22, 2016 at 11:00 am and the board members will be chosen for executive and committee roles.
We are all looking forward to summer and some down time to replenish for the next year.
Eric and Marion