Fraser Health CEO updates Agassiz

Michael Marchbank says Agassiz Primary Clinic work is "invaluable"

Fraser Health’s top officer came to the last District of Kent Council meeting to provide an update on Fraser Health initiatives and priorities.

Michael Marchbank, Fraser Health president and chief executive officer, along with Petra Pardy, executive director for Chilliwack, Hope and Agassiz Health Services, made the presentation. Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs are within the Fraser Health region, which spans from Burnaby to Boston Bar. Marchbank emphasized the size and scope of Fraser Health’s coverage, including 20 communities, 2,500 physicians and 12 hospitals. They serve more than 1.7 million people, provide home support to more than 12,000 patients in the region and even do more than 11,000 restaurant inspections each year in an effort to help keep citizens healthy.

In regards to local services, Marchbank highlighted the Agassiz Primary Care Clinic, saying it’s a “leading example” of how Fraser Health wants to provide services in smaller communities.

He said the local clinic acts as a hub for the eastern valley and the work done at the clinic is “invaluable,” adding, “We’re very pleased with the Agassiz Primary Care Clinic.”

Marchbank touched on the recent return of Agassiz’ respite bed.

“We do want to make sure that bed gets used more than it was,” he cautioned.

He scrolled through several benchmarks Fraser Health uses to track their success. In regards to Chilliwack General Hospital, Marchbank said capacity for the hospital is an area they need to continue to work hard on to address.

“Adding more beds is not the answer,” he told Council. He says the more beds you add, the more beds you use. Instead, Fraser Health is choosing to add more staff and increased supports in the community.

“Staying in a hospital when you don’t need to be there is not the best place of anybody,” said Marchbank.

Councillors had a few comments for the health officials. Councillor Sylvia Pranger reminded Marchbank that finding as many opportunities for residents to stay in Agassiz for health-related needs benefits everybody.

”It saves time, money and stress,” she said, later adding, “We are a rural community that needs health care services as much as anyone.”

Another point of discussion was the desire to retain the services of international doctors who move to Agassiz then move away once their contract is up. Pardy spoke up at this point, saying they are always looking to recruit new physicians and admitting it is hard to retain them. She would like to discuss with the current doctors in Agassiz and Hope what would encourage them to stay.

Councillor Darcy Striker asked about the GP For Me program. Pardy said there has been progress on the plan to connect unattached patients to doctors in the Fraser Valley. She highlighted the PAM program (Patient Attachment Mechanism), a number residents can call to connect with a doctor.

In the BC Legislature, Health minister Terry Lake spoke about the GP For Me program in response to NDP health critic Judy Darcy’s questioning during Question period April 27. Darcy stated that in spite of the five-year-old promise that every British Columbian would have a family doctor by 2015, “there are still hundreds of thousands of British Columbians without a family doctor.”

Lake admitted it is a “challenge”, not only here but across North America. He said there are currently 16 per cent of residents who do not have a family doctor.

“We are working extremely hard creating divisions of family practice that work hard with family physicians to increase their capacity to attach patients to family practice,” said Lake.

Lake went on to explain that the GP For Me program has matched more than 54,600 patients with family physicians.

If you currently do not have a family doctor, the GP For Me program is available to you by calling PAM at 604-795-0034 or 1-844-795-0034.

Pardy’s full new role is executive director for Chilliwack, Hope and Agassiz Health Services and Chilliwack General and Fraser Canyon Hospitals. According to a letter sent to local government, “Petra will work to ensure the vision and priorities for Chilliwack, Hope and Agassiz Health Services, and Chilliwack General and Fraser Canyon hospitals continue to align with Fraser Health’s strategic and operational plan.”

Just Posted

Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge construction could start in 2021, MLA says

The project is expected to cost substantially more than budgeted in 2017

EDITORIAL: Post-grad years are your time

Editor Grace Kennedy shares a few words for this year’s high school grads

Dinosaurs will reign at Sto:lo Children’s Festival

Jurassic Park theme takes over long-standing, free community event

COLUMN: Llamas, goats and snakes, oh my!

Making friends on the Ryder Lake Ramble not a walk in the park

PHOTOS: Sasquatch Days about ‘being proud of being Sts’ailes’

The joint event between Harrison and Sts’ailes returned to the village for its eighth year

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

Police probe report of shooting as Raptors rally continues

There were reports of a woman being injured at the event that celebrates the team’s NBA title win

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

BC Ferries adds extra and late night summer sailings

Seasonal adjustments to sailing times also in effect on many routes

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

Parents of B.C. murder victim want her personal belongings back

Lisa Dudley’s parents, Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday

Most Read