Town moves forward with study to look at possible community health centre

By on January 30, 2018

The Town of Osoyoos is looking to have a feasibility study completed that will look into the possibility of establishing a community health care centre.

On Thursday, the Town announced it has agreed to move forward with Requests For Proposals (RFP) from qualified consultants to prepare a feasibility study relating to the possible development of a community health centre that would provide facilities for the delivery of health care service to Osoyoos and area residents and visitors.

A staff report says Osoyoos’ population recently surpassed 5,000 and there are close to 7,000 residents when you factor those who live in the community or close by.

That population often swells to close to 20,000 when the influx of tourists begins during the late spring, summer and fall.

The winter resident population includes approximately 1,200 “snowbirds” who live in our community from between two to six months.

The staff report indicates current health care services are provided through various resources that include:

  • Family practitioners in two medical clinics.
  • A public health unit operated by Interior Health.
  • Hospital services and emergency care are provided at the South Okanagan General Hospital in Oliver, located approximately 20 kilometres north of Osoyoos.
  • Private practices for dental, physiotherapy, chiropractic and massage therapy.
  • Medical laboratory.
  • Natural health practitioners.

The “community” that will be served in the feasibility study is defined as the geographic area that includes the Town of Osoyoos, Area A of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and local portions of the Osoyoos Indian Band.

Goals of the feasibility study include:
1. To complete a health services gap analysis in our community’s current health delivery system.
2. To determine if and/or how a centralized medical centre delivering multidisciplinary services will assist addressing service gaps or increasing the efficiency of the current system.
3. To determine the potential services and service delivery participants interest in participating in a central health service delivery model.
4. To determine the feasibility of a central health services centre including the physical make-up of the facility, construction costs and the operating costs.
5. To determine if a project of this nature can attract private sector investment for construction and operation or it must be developed by public funding with a cost recovery period identified or a 3P model.
6. To explore current health care funding programs that may assist in facility development

Deliverables of the study will include:
1. Inventory current issues affecting health care service delivery in the community.
2. Inventory and assessment of the community’s current health care service delivery model’s ability to meet current and future needs.
3. Comparison of the current service levels against any available provincial and/or national service benchmarks.
4. Provide assessment of the value-added of central health care services building in medical services delivery and its impacts or relationship to the South Okanagan Health Centre services.
5. Provide examples of working models of centralized health care facilities in communities.
6. Determine working space, administrative areas and related amenities required to service current practitioners, service gaps and potential service amalgamations.
7. Identify how a central health care centre can address the business startup needs of new health care practitioners.
8. Develop preliminary floors plans, ideal location site criteria, identify potential development sites and “D” class construction and operating estimates for a multiservice community health facility that will house services identified in #6 above.
9. Identify housing development opportunities that can be integrated on second and third stories of the building.
10. Provide a summary of public funding sources for this project and an analysis of private sector investment potential or public investment with cost recovery schedule.
11. Using current leasing charges and rental unit charges determine a cost recovery model based on the D class estimates.

All contractor and client communications will be through the Project Manager.

The staff report was prepared by Chief Administrative Officer Barry Romanko.

The consultant that is hired will meet initially with the Health Services Feasibility Study Committee for an initial orientation relating to the project and the health services delivery system.

It is intended that the consultants will provide one public consultation session relating to issues identification and development and implementation of a consultation strategy with local medical practitioners and the Interior Health Authority to determine service opportunities from a centralized community health centre.

A draft study will be made available for members of the committee to make comments and final study results will be presented to members of Town of Osoyoos council and interested members of the public.

The budget for this contract is limited to $110,000, said Romanko.

Proposals are expected to be returned no later than Feb. 16.

The Town applied for and received in October a grant of $100,000 from a provincial fund to move forward with this project.


Osoyoos Times


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  1. Les Dewar

    January 26, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    This would be a good thing for the community!

  2. Rick Deis

    January 27, 2018 at 8:22 am

    A waste of good taxpayers money Barry. Oliver hospital is only 20-30 minutes away and taxpayer/govt funds should be channeled towards that facility or live bodies to staff it. We are in crisis with a lack of doctors/staff to fulfill our needs especially for the elderly. Our system is broke and its time to beef up the training and utilization of registered Nurses, Nurse practitioners, Physician associates and Care aids. Spending $110k on a consultant for another study and analysis by a small town Osoyoos committee will only come to the same determination; the systems broke. That is the real issue and not bricks, mortar, housing,etc. Seeing the doctor should only be used when “less expensive” diagnosis/treatment” methods are used ie “Nurse Practitioners” “NPs are registered nurses (RNs) with clinical experience and higher education who conduct advanced health assessments, order and interpret lab tests, make diagnoses, prescribe drugs, perform advanced interventions, monitor client outcomes, and make referrals to physicians and other healthcare providers” Contact your MP and tell them what we really need.

    • Les Dewar

      January 29, 2018 at 11:02 pm

      I wasn’t referring to the money spent on the study, I was saying it would be a good thing to have a medical clinic here in Osoyoos. Preferably one that is open 24 hrs. I have severe asthma and when I am having an asthma attack, I can be dead long before I get to the Oliver hospital.

  3. Laurie

    January 31, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Walk-in clinic is what we need, Oliver hospital?? My problem with that is, if a person had a heart attack or stroke, 20-30 minutes may not do it, not a good thing to have to think about.

    As far as snowbirds go, they are either in their late 70’s and 80’s, why come out here and use our medical services, the residents of Osoyoos come first, it’s hard enough trying to make an appointment and I live here.

  4. Nick

    February 1, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Having relocated from Ontario to Osoyoos 7 years ago, we still have no access to a family doctor! It is unacceptable and ridiculous to sit in Oliver ER for 5 – 6 hours and tie up overstretched doctors just for a repeat prescription.The only alternative is drive to Penticton. As someone has already indicated, anyone living in Osoyoos or area A and having a heart attack has a limited chance of survival. Given the percentage of aging population in Osoyoos, a local health centre would certainly have been my priority over millions spent on a new fire hall……

  5. Rick Deis

    February 3, 2018 at 9:30 am

    As for “emergencies” that is where our 1st responders come in. Availability & training! If you had an emergency and managed to get to a clinic they would probably call an ambulance to take you to the hospital who hopefully have the staff and equipment you need. Yes a walk in clinic would be nice but you need Doctors and staff to keep them open and a real need shown to warrant one being open 24/7. In my humble opinion this would be a waste of taxpayers money and you don’t have to spend $110k to find this out . Yes if Osoyoos/Oliver had more Doctors, Nurses, Nurse practicioners, Care Aids, Paramedics and other Health Care profesionals you wouldn’t have to worry about your health needs. And if the system was tweeked so we didn’t have to run to the Doctor for all our health needs you wouldn’t have to worry. If all our Clinics, Hospitals and Care Homes were well staffed all would be better. But this is a provincial problem to be changed from the top down. The Town of Osoyoos can throw all the money they like at studies but that won’t help the current situation; its bigger than that. Osoyoos, donate that $110 to the Oliver hospital and urge your citizens to gain the ear of their MLA and the Health Minister.

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