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Posted: April 10, 2019

DOI reluctantly agrees to partner with IH program

By Stephanie Stevens

Motherhood and apple pie are all well and good, but less so if some of the apples appear rotten.

That was the gist of District of Invermere (DOI) Coun. Gerry Taft’s message to his fellow council members at their regular meeting April 3 when they voted to partner with Interior Health (IH) for the Healthy Communities Program.

Coun. Gerry Taft

“On the surface, why not agree? But I am frustrated,” said Taft. “Interior Health has one full time person around community health, one nice lady who comes from Fernie and partners with municipalities. But the rest of IH is like a different organization and we hear horror stories.”

Taft said while he agrees with the concept of healthy community programs, he is frustrated because of who it is coming from.

“I wish they would heed their own word.”

Taft cited IH forcing patients to travel too far for treatments, feeding seniors “disgusting food,” poor treatment of employees and the recurring threats of more services being taken away from smaller hospitals like Invermere’s (pictured above).

“IH has a role to play… we have to hold them accountable to that,” said Taft.

Coun. Kayja Becker said she felt their best bet was to work with them via the Community Health initiative, but use it as a tool to further conversations related to Taft’s concerns.

Coun. Greg Anderson said he also agreed, adding it was better to be a part of the solution.

Coun. Ute Juras also chimed in. “I agree with everything said, and I share Coun. Taft’s concerns,” she said. “It seems like all roses and rainbows, but when the rubber hits the road, IH likes to duck a lot. I think it will be good to remind them of that.”

Mayor Al Miller gave the last comments before the unanimous vote to work with IH’s program.

“I agree. Time and time again we have talked about this, including people having to go to Kelowna or Vancouver for treatment when we could be doing a better job working with Alberta. We have to try to hold their feet to the fire and call them on it. There are issues. IH caused them.”

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