IHA celebrates 10 years

Interior Health Authority employees across the region are participating in food drives to assist those in need during the holiday season.

In celebration of the Interior Health Authority’s 10th anniversary, employees across the region are participating in food drives to assist those in need during the holiday season.

Tin is for Ten encourages employees to donate canned and other goods to their local charities of choice. Most sites are choosing their local food banks.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community for the support shown to the health authority over the past decade,” said Health Minister Michael de Jong.

Tin is the traditional material for 10th anniversaries.

IHA formed on Dec. 12, 2001 when the provincial government moved from 52 health authorities to five regional and one provincial health authority.

“The creation of one health authority for the Southern Interior has allowed us to improve health care services for our residents in many ways,” said Norm Embree, Interior IHA board chairperson.

“Where 10 years ago patients often had to leave the region to receive the services they needed, sometimes transferring between several different jurisdictions, our health professionals are now better equipped to meet residents’ needs locally and to provide standards of care that are consistent across the region.”

Highlights from the past decade include the establishment of sustainable, high quality core medical services in each region; strengthened integrated health care across acute and community; more independence options for seniors in communities; and more efficient and cost effective administrative, support and clinical services, some of which are now linked with other health authorities as well as provincially.

Embree said the formation of regional referral centres in Cranbrook, Trail, Penticton and Vernon hospitals, supported by enhanced diagnostic services like CT and MRI, allow residents to receive care closer to home.

The volumes of CTs and MRIs performed in IHA from 2003 to 2011 increased 182 per cent and 427 per cent respectively.

The authority now provides specialized tertiary services that just 10 years ago were provided only in the Lower Mainland.

“For example, today there are three tertiary psychiatric programs located in Kamloops and additional tertiary mental health beds in Cranbrook, Trail, Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon,” said Embree.