Demands grow for politicians on IHA board

RDNO directors call on the Ministry of Health to include community politicians on the IHA board.

Pressure is growing for elected officials to have a seat at the  Interior Health Authority board table.

On Wednesday, Regional District of North Okanagan directors unanimously called on the Ministry of Health to include community politicians on the IHA board.

“IHA doesn’t have representation from the general public,” said director Mike Macnabb, who has promoted the concept, which will now go to the Southern Interior Local Government Association for consideration.

“There is a disconnect with the local population.”

Macnabb says the public does not have any say in how IHA functions, including over its operating budget, and elected officials on the board would improve accountability.

“We represent a broad range of opinion,” he said, adding that regional districts already play a role in taxation for health care capital projects.

Macnabb is suggesting that one representative from each one the nine regional districts within IHA be named to the authority board, along with the seven board members appointed by the government.

Macnabb’s proposal has the support of Rob Sawatzky, a Vernon RDNO director.

“Every time you have elected officials involved, it’s better for the system than appointees,” said Sawatzky.

“You avoid the chance of representation bias. Appointees are not representative of the public. They represent those who appoint them.”

The campaign to have elected officials on the IHA board has already been endorsed by RDNO’s Electoral Area Advisory Committee.