Health board reps sought

UBCM wants elected officials on health authorities

Pressure is growing on the provincial government to open up health authority boards.

Delegates at the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities convention recently supported a resolution that calls on Victoria to allow elected civic leaders to sit on the currently appointed health boards.

“It came out of a frustration with the Interior Health Authority because we couldn’t get answers,” said Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director and author of the resolution.

Regional districts are asked by the provincial government to direct property taxes towards health care projects, such as expansion of Vernon Jubilee Hospital, but Macnabb says decisions are made without knowing a health authority’s true financial status.

“You can’t have control over capital when you don’t have knowledge of the operating dollars,” he said.

Macnabb isn’t convinced the current appointment of health board members is reflective of the public interest.

“Their accountability is to the province and not the people and the only way to represent the people is to have elected representatives from each regional district,” he said.

In the case of IHA, that would lead to nine additional seats being added to the board.

Macnabb’s resolution originally only focused on IHA but it was expanded to include all health authorities in B.C.

UBCM will now lobby the provincial government but Macnabb isn’t hopeful about change given that Health Minister Terry Lake expressed some concerns about the concept when speaking to the Southern Interior Local Government Association.

“He’s been dismissive of something that has merit,” said Macnabb.