Health coalition questions health board appointment

News release
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BC Health Coalition news release: The BC Health Coalition (BCHC) is calling into question the provincial government’s commitment to defend public health care in the courts in the wake of the recent appointment of Kip Woodward as chair of Vancouver Coastal Health - the province’s second largest health authority.

Mr. Woodward is a former Board member of the for-profit Cambie Surgery Centre and his family investment firm, Woodcorp Investments Ltd., is an investor in the controversial private clinic run by Dr. Brian Day.

Cambie Surgery is at the centre of the pivotal B.C. Supreme Court case launched by Day and a consortium of private for-profit clinics against the B.C. Medical Services Commission and the provincial government. The clinics aim to have key provisions of the provincial health legislation declared unconstitutional so that they can sell necessary health services to patients who can afford to pay a premium to jump the queue and open up B.C. to U.S.-style health insurance.

“Mr. Woodward is a known advocate of privatized, for-profit health care,” said BCHC Co-chair Rachel Tutte, referring to recent letters written by Woodward last fall to Health Minister Kevin Falcon on Woodcorp letterhead, but in the capacity of Chair of Providence Health Care. In these letters Woodward stated that Providence’s previous relationship with Vancouver Coastal “held us back” and he expressed a desire for “new funding models and new delivery processes.”

One of the letters goes on to outline numerous “revenue generating” and “cost recovery” schemes that could not possibly avoid violating Medicare’s principles of accessibility and universality and that would further advance the interests of for-profit health care investors.

“Health Minister Kevin Falcon has a responsibility to defend our public health care system in the courts and to protect patients from this attack on B.C.’s Medicare laws,” said Tutte. “Now, he is appointing an investor in one of the key players in this legal attack on public health care to run our Medicare system”.