AGM Minutes 2011

Please find below the President’s Report, the Fundraising Report, the Financial Report, the Clinic Operations Report and the Coordinator’s Report

 

President’s Report

Galiano Health Care Society Annual General Meeting

9 April 2011

James Schmidt

Recognition and Thanks

 

The last year has been a challenging one on a number of levels, but we have been fortunate through these difficult times to have a hard working and dedicated board.  I hence owe a debt of gratitude to the executive of the board, Vice President Frances Tessier, Secretary Jacques Roy and Treasurer Sylvie Beauregard, as well as the members-at-large, Renne Atkinson, Don Clark, Ken Kucille, Diane Laronde, Roger Pettit, Susan Phillips, Christina Stechishin, and Pat Woolhouse for the outstanding work they have done this year for the GHCS.  In working through a variety of stressful and difficult issues, the board members have consistently worked with each other, the staff of the clinic and me in a supportive and cooperative manner, even when inevitable differences of opinion have arisen.  For this too I thank them.

This year, Lindsay Williams resigned before completing her term on the board, but not her tenure as chair of the Wine Festival Committee.  The festival was a great success and I again want to express my thanks to her and to her committee members who worked so hard to make it happen yet again.  Lindsay’s opening on the board was filled by Christina Stechishin who stepped up to the plate at a difficult time for the board, and we welcome her and look forward to working with her over the next few years. 

This year everyone whose term has expired has agreed to again run for the board, so we are indeed fortunate to have ongoing stability over the next year.

I also want to thank all of the volunteers who have devoted time and effort to a variety of GHCS committees and activities.  This year volunteers have been especially critical in our fundraising activities such as the wine festival, the GHCS Birthday Party, the Talent Show, and the Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner program.  Without those events we would literally be broke.  However, I also want to thank the volunteers who support a variety of other GHCS activities, ranging from mental health to educational programs to serving on society committees to donating time and effort in addressing a variety of needs that arise at the clinic. 

I want to thank especially Linda Ruedrich, our clinic administrator, and the rest of the clinic staff for their hard work and commitment to the clinic and the society.  This year has been especially difficult for our Medical Office Assistants, who came on the job just as Dr. Beaver was leaving and had to learn the ropes quickly.  They put out great effort and have really helped hold things together with the ever-changing locums through the clinic.  Like all of the other society employees, they have put in far more hours that their pay checks reflect.  As always, Linda has continued to oversee the clinic and society operations, training new staff, stepping in to cover when things don’t go according to plan and resolving the million little crises that arise in the typical clinic day.  The society, quite simply could not function without her.  I thank her for her ongoing efforts, resourcefulness, knowledge, decisiveness and good humour.  I also want to thank the other health care professionals, especially our Nurse-Clinician, Leanne Hale, who have continued to work in the clinic and provide outstanding care, even in the midst of the changes and stresses that have abounded this year.

Finally, I want to thank the community for their ongoing support of the society.  Their contributions of time, money and effort have allowed us to remain functioning and indeed accomplish a number of things in the last year.

Physician Recruitment:

 

The issue of recruiting a full-time physician for Galiano has been the major focus for the board over the past year.  This has provided challenges in four areas. 

First, the recruitment process itself has been difficult.  Shortly after the last AGM, VIHA decided to reduce the position from full-time to part time without consultation with the board.  Following a public outcry and activity on the part of the board that decision was reversed.  There have subsequently been a couple of other “hitches” in the recruitment process, but VIHA was very responsive to our concerns in that regard.  Overall, the drawn-out nature of this process in my opinion reflects not a lack of effort by either VIHA or the GHCS, but rather the reality that (a) general practice physicians are in very short supply and (b) the position on Galiano is unique and requires a person with a specific set of needs, skills and interests. 

Second, maintaining consistent coverage with locums has proved to be a challenge.  The locum program has provided ongoing funding, but candidates for the position haven’t always been found, leading to periods of time when we have no on-island physician coverage.  We are in the process of addressing the reasons for this in hopes of providing more constant care at the clinic.

Third, the issue of provision of emergency care by the locums has been an ongoing issue that has yet to get fully resolved.  Again, the board is working actively with VIHA to get this issue resolved.

Fourth, the clinic experienced a significant increase in operating costs and a significant drop in income when Dr. Beaver left.  We lost the rent he paid to the clinic, and had to assume many of the costs previously paid by him, such as the salaries for the Medical Office Assistants.  VIHA has recently started covering a number of those costs which has substantially reduced but not eliminated the financial crisis created for the society by this situation.

Where Things Stand Today:  In February, a candidate for the job was interviewed by VIHA and GHCS.  We were very impressed with the candidate and he seemed to be very interested in coming to Galiano.  He was offered the job, but on Thursday of this week he e-mailed the GHCS saying that he had declined the offer for financial reasons having to do with his son having to pay international tuition in B.C.  Fortunately, VIHA continued to advertise the position during while he was considering the option, so no time was lost by this exercise although it was of course very disheartening to the board and staff.  VIHA has informed us that there are either one or two other interested candidates, so we will continue to move on with the process.

Positive Developments

 

Despite the difficulties surrounding our lack of a physician, a number of things have been accomplished by the board this year. Indeed, some of these accomplishments arose from the situation with the physician.  They include the following:

  • Educational Activities:  The board has sponsored a number of community education sessions, including the talk by Michael and Bonnie Klein.  In addition, the Mental Health Committee has sponsored a number of community sessions on topics ranging from stress management to issues affecting youth with mental health issues to dealing with grieving and loss.

 

  • Community Events:  The society has sponsored a number of community events which have provided entertainment and recreation for the community while raising funds for and increasing the profile of the society.  These have included the GHCS Birthday Party, the Wine Festival, and the very successful recent Galiano’s Got Talent Show.

 

  • Financial Affairs:  In recognition of the significant financial issues facing the society, the board has created a formal Finance Committee which has been actively examining the society’s financial status and working on a budget for the next year to allow us to operate within our means and get the most out of our funds.  They are also actively exploring alternate sources of funding.

 

  • VIHA Committee:  In recognition of our close and ongoing relationship with VIHA and the Ministry of Health, the society has established a committee made up primarily of community members to facilitate relations with VIHA and the M of H so that in the future our dealings with them will be proactive and collegial rather than reflexive and crisis-driven. 

 

  • Committee restructuring:  Recognizing that the existing committee structure of the GHCS did not adequately reflect the goals of the society, failed to address some issues, and had other areas of overlap, the board has been working towards a new committee structure that avoids duplication of effort, assures that all critical areas are covered and promotes efficient addressing of our goals.  The new committee structure has been put in place and we are now in the process of “fine tuning” the mandates of those committees.  A key component to this working, however, is for community volunteers to join these committees so they can function effectively and productively.  

 

  • Website: Recognizing that our website is the first and possibly only place perspective physicians might look for information, we have rebuilt the website to provide a more user-friendly, updated and informative site.  Sylvie, Linda and the others working on it have done an outstanding job.  It can be viewed at www.galianohealth.org

 

There are many other activities that the staff, the board and community volunteers have participated in over the past year.  The above list should be seen as a sampling rather than exhaustive list of what we have been working on and I apologize for any activities that have not been mentioned.

I would also stress that these represent new activities, and many of our traditional activities such as meals on wheels have also continued despite the disruption. 

Clinic Developments

 

In the last year, we have had a few “must do” work to be done on the clinic.  Happily, these have been relatively few and we have been able to handle them financially.  That said, the clinic is aging, is getting more use and, hence, is increasingly in need of renovation, repair and upgrading.  Two areas of particular concern at this point are making sure that the clinic meets current standards regarding sanitation and regarding earthquake preparedness.  It is clear that we fall below these standards and will have to invest funds, in some cases significant funds (e.g. replacement of the carpeting throughout with a surface that can be properly cleaned) will be needed.  Funding for these projects will be discussed later in the meeting today.

Respectfully submitted,

James Schmidt

TREASURER REPORT FOR JAN-DEC 2010

BY SYLVIE BEAUREGARD

PRESENTED APRIL 9TH AGM

 

This past year has been a trying year for the Galiano Health Care Society. We lost our doctor, which mean less revenue in rent and as you so well know, we had to initiate a contract with VIHA to obtain help in covering these losses of income. After many letters from our president to VIHA and with your unfailing support, we were able to get a reimbursement and this has allowed us to remain relatively

‘healthy’ although with a deficit. We also had less revenue due to the dentist absence and our expenses were a little bit higher this year due in part to some much needed renovations in order to assure infection control, more confidentiality and privacy for the patients at the Health Center. Ambulance travel and training subsidies were higher due to a lack of local ambulance attendants.

I would like to bring your attention to the fact that we have received all the money that VIHA owed us. $26,336.

Real Dental income is $59, 275 not $85011

The real deficit is $13,528 because of room building, special advertizing and ambulance transportation cost.

FUNDRAISING REPORT

 AGM April 9th, 2011-04-05

By Sylvie Beauregard, Chair of Fundraising Committee 

As usual, the members of the GHCS have been very generous in donating money and in participating to the many fundraising events this Committee has initiated. For this, the directors of the board are very grateful; thank you all for your unfailing support and generosity. Here is a list of the various fundraising events which show the income before and after expenses:

GROSS INCOME

 

Wine Festival                             $21,718.24

Guess who’s coming to dinner      $3,040.00

Dance                                        $7,964.61

Speaker (Klein)                          $3,865.31

Bridge Tournament                     $540.00

Total                                                $37,128.16      

 

 

                       

NET INCOME

 

Wine Festival                             $13,655.34

Guess who’s coming to dinner      $2,778.93

Dance                                        $5,707.86

Speaker (Klein)                          $3,387.74

Bridge Tournament                     $540.00

Thrift Store donations                 $7000

Total                                                $32,069.87

 

 

So far this year, we have been very successful with our Variety Show in February. We now have the Quilt Raffle starting on April 15th until the Wine Festival on August 13th. Please continue to support our small island Health Care throughout the whole year.

We are planning to get a speaker in the fall and we continue to think of more exciting events for you all to participate in.

Clinic Operations Report submitted by Chair Ken KucilleApril 2011

GALIANO HEALTH CARE CENTRE

BUDGET 20102012

The figures in this budget are estimates only and should not be used for actual prices or final budget figures. Most items have a priority attached and a time line when that item should be replaced.

BUILDING ENVELOPE– the siding appears to be in reasonable good condition with the exception of mould growing on some areas of the painted surface. Estimate for light power washing on the lower portion of the building will be $450. An additional amount of $700 would be required due to the height of the structure where a boom truck would be required. To complete the paint job on the new storage room addition and small touch ups would be $400 plus paint at $75. Total estimate: $1625

*priority #2- should be completed within 6 months.

FLOORING– for hygienic reasons all public and professional carpeted areas should be replaced with linoleum or tile. Estimate for linoleum flooring would be $18,000. For tiling add an additional $5000.

*priority #1- due to the potential hazards in the carpets the carpet should be replaced immediately.

HOT WATER TANK-estimate to replace the existing 40 Gal. hot water tank will be $1000.

*priority #3- this tank installed in 1991 should be replaced within 1 year.

SEPTIC TANK AND FIELD-the system appears to be in good working order. The tanks should be pumped out as they have never been pumped out. Estimate for the pumping and removal will be $1000.

*septic tank pumped out Nov. 10/2010. This was priority #1.

PLUMBING– for hygienic reasons all bathroom and office fixtures should be replaced with lever style handles. Due to the existing design of the sinks, they will not accommodate lever style fixtures, therefore the vanities also must be replaced, Estimate to replace fixtures and vanities in 9 areas would be $9000.

*priority #6-replace fixtures and vanities within 2 years.

TOILETS– the existing toilets are of the older type which waste a great amount of water per flush. Estimate to replace 2 units with low flush capabilities will be $1000.

*priority #7-replace fixtures within 2 years.

ELECTRONIC OFFICE EQUIPMENT– this area includes the computers, fax machines, printers, telephone equipment, pencil sharpners,etc. Although all equipment should not be required to be replaced at one time, a budget of at least $2000 per year should be included.

*priority #4-electronic equipment should be starting to be replaced within 1 year

INTERIOR PAINTING– most areas in the Health Care Centre have not been repainted since the original construction on 1991. The estimate to repaint all areas except the new addition of Linda’s office and the coffee room will be $6000.

*priority #5-start painting within 1.5 years.

ELECTRICAL– the electrical system appears to be in good working condition and regular maintenance should be all that is required for the time being.

CENTRAL VACUUM SYSTEM– there appears to be a problem with the central vacuum system, but this I believe will be a regular maintenance issue and should not require any major expenditures.

PARKING LOT AREA– the pavement appears to be in good condition as well as the helicopter pad and equipment. No major expenses should be necessary for these areas,. The only exception is the yard light which has given problems in the past with the bulb continually burning out. A modern unit with lower power consumption and higher wattage could be installed. The estimate to replace the existing unit would be $1000.

*new light bulb replaced Nov. 12/2010.

WATER WELL AND PUMP– this area appears to be in good condition and should not require any major expenditure.

*plastic liner installed on cover Nov/2010 as per the Health Inspector’s request.

DIESEL EMERGENCY GENERATOR– this unit is in good condition and should not require any major expenditure.

Total estimate for items listed will be $40,625.

Submitted by Ken Kucille

GHCS Coordinator’s AGM Report
 April 8th 2011

by: Linda Ruedrich

2010 was the 25th anniversary year for the Galiano Health Care Society.  Although it was a year with a lot of challenges for staff and the board, we continued to provide primary and emergency care to islanders and visitors on the 24/7 model, even if the clock was stretched in both directions on some of those days.  I think the board and staff makes it look somewhat easy, this job of ensuring health and emergency care services here on our little rural island, but it is actually anything but.  Dedicated staff and volunteers give countless hours of their time and energy to keeping the centre open and functioning, keeping the taps running, the toilets flushing, the phones answered, the new locums trained each Monday morning, the funds coming in, the patients happy and well cared for, the letters written to keep those in control of our health care dollars honest… well you get the picture.  This board that is now serving the society with their work is a very talented, forward looking and imaginative group, and they should have a round of applause from all of us here, a small gesture of thanks for their hard work. 

Membership:

We ended the year with a membership of 439 members, down only 4 people from last years all time high of 443.  Perhaps we have reached a membership plateau, but we still remain true to our lofty goal of having every islander join the Health Care Society as a member.  Besides being a major part of our fundraising for the year, members give us clout when speaking to the Heath Authority, donate many funds along with their memberships, and show a personal interest in everyone’s health care on Galiano, something the Society very much appreciates.

Volunteer Services:

We continue to offer a variety of community and health services that are volunteer run, for the community.  The seniors socials are organized by Anne Scott, volunteer driver and RX pick-up by Mike Hoebel, mental health committee by Wendy Lloyd, friendly visitors by Terry Gregory, the Tuesday walking group by Shelly Smith, Sydney Massie and Sandy Martin, the Transitions in Dying and Grieving (formerly Palliative Care Group) by Jan Adler and her group of volunteers, and the “Art Show Fundraiser” by Eleanor Coulthard.  Each of these coordinators also has many volunteers who work with them on the committees or activities.  It would be difficult to calculate the number of person hours that go into supporting the wellness of this community by these volunteers. 

As an example, the Mental Health Working Committee has offered 3 community educational workshops this year, on Anxiety, Youth and Psychosis and Life Transitions, given by community members who have a particular expertise in these areas of mental health and wellness.  They were well attended and feedback was very positive.  The working group meets monthly to work on “stigma busting” ideas for the Galiano community, and how we can do outreach to those who may need services but are having trouble with access, and also trying to improve the scope of services the community has to choose from.  Improving mental health services is one of the goals of the Health Care Society, and now, three years into our work on this issue, we can say we have achieved some successes, both with raising the awareness that mental health issues are “health issues” and need to be given the same measure of support and energy as any other health issues, and having raised awareness in this community.  There are many more folks out there willing to speak about their own challenges with mental health, which in turn makes for a more accepting community.

Dental and Hygiene Program:

The dental program had its fair share of challenges this year, with Dr Nord being off on a sick leave from September 2010 until February 2011, and Debbie Ritchie retiring in December of 2010.  Thankfully Dr Nord is recovered and back to work full time as of this month.  We have found a part time islander who is a dental hygienist and will be trying out a few clinics to see if we can’t work together to continue to offer this service on island.  The dental clinic is both a service and the Society’s “social enterprise”, in that any profits from the clinic go towards running both the operations and programs of the GHCS.  So you are ensuring your smile and our smile when you use these services, so we really encourage you to do so, and spread the word to other you may know still taking their teeth to town. 

Staffing:

Last year saw a number of changes in the staffing of the centre, starting with the departure of Dr Beaver.  David was the employer of the Medical Office Assistants (MOA’s) and when he left, this employment responsibility had to be taken on by the society in order to keep the centre open and medical services functioning.  We appealed to VIHA to provide us with funds for staffing, phones, etc for both the Locums and the nurse practitioner, and they finally complied with a contract and funds in the beginning of this year. 

Then both of his MOA’s, Alex on to maternity leave and Michelle on to a new life in the Kootneys, left us.  Thankfully for the weather in Newfoundland, MOA Lori Seay only went for a visit and then came back to work!  We made it through the summer, training new part time MOA Jackie Bowers and then in September hiring and training Kimberly Reid, who has done a wonderful job as the main MOA at the front desk of the centre.  Unfortunately, family obligations have caused Kimberly to resign this month, but wait, Alex Trifonidis is back from maternity leave, on her way to another maternity leave this coming September.  So we will once again be looking to hire and train another MOA this summer. 

We also had to increase the janitorial hours dramatically to deal with the increased use of the centre, and new infection control issues that had to be complied with to keep us all safe and healthy.  We now clean the centre 5-6 days per week.

GALIANO HEALTHCARE SOCIETY

Minutes recorded by Jacques Roy

 Annual General Meeting-Lions Hall

 April 9th, 2011, 10:00 AM

1-     Call to Order

2-     Minutes of the last meeting- April 25th, 2010

3-     Errors and omissions- none

4-     Motion of adoption adopted as circulated

      5.00- Reports

      5.01-President’s report- J. Schmidt

               The President thanked all the members of the board for their hard and dedication. Lindsay Williams and her committee members were thanked for   bringing the Wine Festival to a great success.   The president also thanked all the volunteers who have devoted their time and effort to a variety of GHCS committees and activities such as the Wine festival, Birthday Party, Talent Show and the Guess who’s Coming to Dinner program. Without those events we would literally be broke. The volunteers who support a variety of activities such as mental health, educational programs or serving on committees or donating time we also thanked.  Linda Ruedrich, clinical administrator and her staff were also thanked for thei hard work and commitment especially with Dr Beaver leaving. Leanne Hale, nurse-clinician was also recognized for her outstanding care at the clinic. The board major focus this year has been the recruitment of a full-time physician. Shortly after the last AGM, VIHA decided unilaterally to reduced  the position from full-time to part-time. Following a public outcry and activion on the part of the board, the decision was reversed. Maintaining consistent coverage with locums has been a challenge. Provision of emergency coverage is an issue which the board is working hard to resolve. The clinic experienced a significant increase in operating costs and a significant drop in income when Dr Beaver left. VIHA is now helping with these costs.     

As for a permanent physician on the island, we had a good candidate and we offered him the position after his visit to the island. Unfortunately he declined due to financial reason. VIHA is still advertising for the position. A couple  physicians have expressed interest. We had some positive developments such as several sessions of educational activities and community events.

We have created a financial committee and a VIHA committee to make recommendations to the board. All our committees have been restructured to deal with gaps and overlaps. The clinic is aging and need some renovation. Two areas of particular concern are standards regarding earthquake preparedness and sanitation such as carpets and elbow control faucets.

      5.02-Treasurer’s report- S. Beauregard

               The Statement of Financial Position and Statement of Operations and Changes in Net Assets were presented and amended. Both were adopted as amended.

      5.03- Coordinator’s report- L. Ruedrich

                L. Ruedrich thanked the staff and the board for all the work done for the clinic. We ended the year with 439 members. This give us clout when speaking with the Health Authority. We thanked all the volunteers who run a variety of community and health services such as Ann Scott (volunteer driver), Mike Hoebel (Rx pick-up), Wendy Lloyd (mental health), Terry Gregory (Friendly visitors), Shelly Smith, Sidney Massey and Sandy Martin (Tuesday walking group),  Jan Adler and her Group (Transitions in dying and Grieving) and E. Coulthhard (Art Show Fundraiser)  Improving mental health services is one of our goal and now after three year of work on the issue, we have achieved some success.The dental program has had challenges this year with Dr Nord on sick leave and the retirement of the hygienist.  Dr Nord is back and we have a possible candidate for dental hygienist. There was a number of changes in the staffing at the centre especially with  the Medical Office Assistants. We had an increase in janitorial hours.

      5.04- Fundraising report – S. Beauregard

               A special thanks to the Thrift store for their generous donations. A big Thanks to the people who have supported the activities and fundraising events.

 A beautiful quilt valued at $2000. was given to us by the Galiano Needle Guild. All the material and time has been given. It will be raffled at the Wine Festival.

  A special fundraising campaign is underway to raise funds for new flooring, new elbow control faucets and hot water heater. The fundraising report was adopted.

      6- Nomination report- S. Phillips

              Three existing members  have agreed to stay for another two year term.

              J. Schmidt, P. Woolhouse and S. Beauregard

              C. Stechishin would like to join the board as well as L. Parisee.

              There was no other nominations. These people are elected by acclamation.

              Motion to adopt the report was carried.

      7- New Business

           The new committee structure was circulated and people are asked to join. The gaming commission could be a source of funding for our renovations. We will investigate this avenue.

      8- Adjournment

      9- L. Hale gave a talk about her role as Nurse Practitioner.

Grief as Transformation: a mother’s story (by Eileen Beaudine)

On March 16 Jan Adler and I shared some experiences of grief.   I told the story of my son Joshua, his tragic death, and mostly I focused on the ways I experienced grief in the years that followed his death.

Joshua’s father called me from Portland to tell me our son Josh had died by suicide.  Suicide attempts were not uncommon for Josh, as he had multiple mental diagnoses.  His first attempt was when he was in 5th grade, and throughout his 26 years attempts were frequent.  He would call me or another friend to be rescued after overdoses.  One week before his death, he was hospitalized for an attempt with pills.  He left the hospital against Dr.’s orders, disappeared for a few days, came back to his family, and then he told his brother by telephone he was going to hitch-hike to San Francisco to get away from things for a while.   He left, and the next day the coroner was at his Dad’s door that cold, December morning.

If you had met him, even for a brief time, you would remember his kindness, creativity, commitment to social justice, his limitless curiosity, loyalty to his friends and how much he loved his mum.  He faced a life of almost continuous turmoil within himself and in his life.  Early drug treatment was somewhat effective, and when he turned 18 he chose not to take medication very often.  Despite his illness, he found some satisfaction in some of his jobs.  He wrote stories and poetry. We loved to watch birds, and we enjoyed the Portland Trailblazers as often as we could.  He is missed, and if I could have taken his place so he could have lived, I would have done so without hesitation.

Living past my son’s death became a place of isolation and pain unlike any other I had ever experienced.  I couldn’t stand that the world was still rotating on its axis, that the sun would rise, that in mornings all over the world millions of people were opening their eyes.  But not Josh.  I wanted to crawl back to the past to where he last breathed so I could bring him along with me into the future.  I searched for him from my most primitive and maternal subconscious, testing for his scent everywhere I went.  I didn’t make up my mind to do this: it is how my body reacted to his death. 

I was pulled between living life alive and moving through life deeply shrouded.  My experience of grief encompasses both my love for Josh and the pain of his death, side-by-side, sometimes consuming me, other times the pain lessened by the strength of a memory. The earliness and manner of his death was foreshadowed in his childhood.  However this knowledge did nothing to lessen the impact of his death or the grief that followed.

Thinking, reasoning, straight research did not help me.  I read every book I could find on bereavement.  Nothing resonated with me.  My head did not find the new way.  I decided to start doing something physical.  In February several months after Joshua’s death, I came alone to our newly purchased-unimproved lot on Galiano where we had parked a small trailer.  Mission: pull broom until collapse.  Then at night write in a journal until sleep forces itself upon me.  Repeat. Repeat.  Repeat.  I cleared broom.  The piles were taller than me, the broom itself often of tree-status.  I found undiscovered trees, mainly arbutus that were being out-competed by the broom.  Already Spring was near, and certain bushes were beginning to leaf out.  Each day I cleared, I could see the success—broom removed and a more natural habitat revealed.  Each day I could see slightly incremental increases in the greening for spring.  I cleared in the rain, the wind, the cold.  I had only one goal—to find physical exhaustion.  In that state, I could write without inhibitions.  The words came unbidden.  The most essential, the most vulnerable parts of me surfaced and beheld the grief.  Cautiously I explored this new geography of my life, usually a small step at a time.  Not always forward progress, but side-to-side, backwards, to and fro. 

This experience was the first time I put the whole of me into the grief that now is part of me.  Since then, I have initiated survivor support groups in Vancouver to talk to others who have lost a loved one to suicide.  I have thoroughly investigated the details of his death, examined erroneous processes and held those systems up to scrutiny. I have worked on ways to commemorate his life—like burning the 24-hour candle, the Jahrzeit candle, on his birthday and on the anniversary of his death.   Some of his friends found me—some even through Google and Facebook— and shared great gifts—new stories of him.  I have written journals that describe and document the pain and also the breakthroughs back to life.  I have figured out what to do with his things through action.  I learned to live (by living, by doing) on this new planet without him.  I like to bird-watch with his eyes sometimes.  I listen to music he loved with his brand of joy.  As I go through my days, I often observe that Josh would have loved this or that.  And, of course, I continue to pull broom.

I was changed by his death and am transformed by the grief.  The process will probably not end.  Grief and I will continually and infinitely transform each other, keening in the pleasure and pain of memories, and discovering today and tomorrow, sometimes with tears, sometimes with joy, and, now, always with life.

Nothing was simple or obvious.  Most every step was risky—and I was scared.  Yet with each step, I move with life.  Sensitivity to the smallest of things—like the color of the sky, the leaf that falls, the human voice—are the things that guide my map to life and living.  This is not the person I would have chosen to be—the mother of a dead son.  Yet here I am, hardly alone in this situation.  Each day the grief is transformed yet again, life is full, the sun comes up, and I see stars at night.  Everything changed and continues to change.  He would like it that way.

Goodbye to Kimberly/ Welcome back Alex!

We are saying goodbye to Medical Office Assistant Kimberly, who is leaving us this week for new frontiers.  We wish Kim the best of luck and it was wonderful to have you work for the Galiano Health Care Society.  Alex  is returning to us from maternity leave, and will be back at the front desk starting April 4th.  Lori and Jackie will also staff the desk, so please have a smile for these women who work very hard for all the patients at the clinic.

Exciting Needle News!

Quilt - New York BeautyThis beautiful New York Beauty Quilt is 66” x 76” and has been created by the Galiano Needle Guild. Raffle tickets went on sale on April 15 and the draw took place on August 13th. This was to raise money for the Galiano Health Care Society.

Bonnie Robson won the quilt. Bonnie has been a supporter of the Galiano Health Care Society for many years. Congratulations Bonnie and thank you to all who bought tickets to support your local health care.

Galiano’s Got Talent- It Sure Does!

Cast of Galiano's Got Talent

Cast of Galiano's Got Talent

I hope you were one of the people in the two sold out shows on the 12th and 13th of February that witnessed the fantastic and often hilarious talent Galiano islanders offered to the community as a fundraiser for the Galiano Health Care Society and Centre. The diversity of acts was impressive. We were at Studio 54 with Ginga’s original electro-funk, a smoky jazz bar with Genny Laronde, stand-up at Yuk-Yuk’s with an autobiographical genius version of her new life as Trustee with Sandy Pottle, and getting a glimpse into the underbelly of Galiano’s social life with Speed Dating Galiano Style.

These are just a few of the wonderful acts that came out to support health care on Galiano and gratitude is what we feel for their efforts to entertain and support us all.

The Health Care Society would like to thank the organizing dream team of Sylvie Beauregard, Jackie Bowers, Margaret Howell and Johanna Newmoon who ensured we saw a quality show from start to finish. We would also like to thank the following individuals and businesses for their support and hard work, without which all this fun and fundraising would not have been possible:

Ed Bejtovic, Shelley Gruendler, Christina Stechishin, Suzanne Laughlin, Paul Leblond, Dave Hutton,
Diona Davies, Ian Maday, Dan Elmes, Kenna Fair, Judy Parrack, Allan Forget, Susan Mackey, Yvonne Coletta, Patti our wonderful bar-keep, Sheila Midgely, Bill Ripley, Sanda Dolph, Board Members of the GHCS, Daystar Market and staff, Mike and Jenny at the Garage, Jim, Lee and staff at Galiano Island Books, and of course all the performers.

We raised a little over $3000 for health care, quite an achievement. Thanks to all who attended, and enjoy these photos of the show provided by Henny Schnare with much thanks.

 

[slideshow id=1 w=600px h=]

 

News January 2011

As noted in last month’s Active Page article, medical care on Galiano before the 1980s was carried out  by visiting doctors  from other islands or by semi-retired resident doctors working out of their own homes.  Whether your illness or accident coincided with the presence of a doctor on island was a matter of luck.  In 1984, a group of residents organized themselves with the aim of creating a more permanent location for the delivery of health care here, and finally in 1991, after much energetic fundraising and leaping through of bureaucratic hoops, the present Health Care Centre was opened.

As the early organizers had hoped, the building has over the years been used by a variety of health care professionals, including the doctor, locums whenever a doctor was unavailable, the nurse practitioner, the lab technician, and also by a dentist, hygienist, chiropractor, podiatrist, massage therapist, and a physiotherapist.  A fully equipped emergency room and a helipad are maintained at the clinic; the  latter has made it possible to get severely injured or ill patients to big-city hospitals in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take.
Money to support the running of the Health Centre has come from rents paid by health care providers, by gifts, bequests and society membership fees, and by various fundraising events, including the annual wine festival. In the early years enough money was raised to construct and equip the clinic, and also to create a small reserve against a rainy day.  As years went by, greater demands were placed on the Society’s means as uses of the space multiplied (increasing wear and tear) at the same time that  the building began to require more maintenance because of its age.  Also, there are new Health Department requirements for medical clinics,  making new equipment and more staff hours necessary,  increasing costs. Furthermore, as residents struggle with the present economic situation, donations have dropped.

Supporting the successful running and maintenance of the clinic and other educational and community programs, as well as the purchasing of medical and dental equipment (expensive stuff) on the Society’s slender income was always an ambitious undertaking.  In recent times a series of events  have created greater financial demands and  made coping increasingly difficult.

Dr. Beaver’s departure did not create the crisis, but it did render the precarious nature of the situation suddenly very evident.  Dr. Beaver  paid rent, and also the costs of a pager, fax, telephone, and salary and benefits for the Medical Office Assistants.  The Society suddenly not only did not have the rent coming in (Locums, by VIHA regulations, cannot be charged rent), but, since MOAs and telephones and so on are still required to run a clinic, the Society has had no choice but to pick up these expenses except for the one day of MOA salary subsidized by VIHA when the nurse practitioner is present.   Furthermore, the dental hygienist has retired, and the dentist has been on sick leave, so that rental income is consequently very much reduced.

What has the Health Society been doing about this? A committee of the board have been in negotiations with VIHA for several months in an effort to have VIHA cover some of these costs which have been created in the absence of rental income from a  resident doctor..  After considerable correspondence VIHA indicated that they would do so,  more paperwork has been signed, processed and filed, and hopefully a cheque will arrive sometime before the Health Society’s finances hit the wall.
The Board has also discussed with the CRD the possibility of having a levy added to property taxes to pay for basic operational and upkeep expenses at the Centre.  Up to this time the GHCS has  been entirely community-supported, never receiving any tax or other government funding.  The process of  acquiring tax support is lengthy.  First a request, with much supporting documentation, is made to the  CRD, which will then conduct a study;  if deemed reasonable, the matter could go to referendum to be voted on by residents of Galiano, in this case probably next November.  Should the referendum pass, no funds would be raised until the following year ( late 2012).  Future boards would be able to function with the certainty of being able to meet some of their basic costs, and focus their fundraising proceeds on purchasing and replacing equipment, improvements to the structure, and delivering educational and  community programs.  Mayne Island, with a similar population to Galiano’s and a Health Centre built a few years before ours, has had tax support for the maintenance of their Centre since 2007.

The other matter of which the public needs to be aware  is when there is medical care available on the island, and when there is not..  I’ve heard people say that they haven’t gone to the clinic because they don’t know whether there will be a doctor.  In fact there has been almost complete coverage by locums at the clinic since Dr. Beaver’s departure.  Presently,  locum coverage has been booked  till March 4.  The rural locum program is administered by the province, and through VIHA renews coverage every three months.

Evening and weekend coverage is a somewhat different story. The locums provide evening coverage on the weekdays that they are here (except Friday  evening). Two weekends a month, there is a nurse  but no physician on call on weekends.  In February the weekends covered by nurses are February 4/5/6 and 18/19/20. This means that there are two full weekends, including Friday evenings, when we do not have local emergency coverage. This has to do with the way  that rural emergency coverage is administered . When Doctor Beaver was here, he, together with the Mayne and Pender doctors, formed a group which shared the funding allotted to provide this coverage, Dr. Beaver providing his share of it on Galiano.  Since we presently don’t have a doctor, we also do not have any Galiano-based funding for an emergency physician.  When we do find a doctor, presumably a similar arrangement to Dr. Beaver’s will be reached with him or her.

What all this means is that unless the cavalry come riding up very soon, the Society will be starting to live off its financial reserves; it has been saved from having to do this so far only by the assistance of a couple of other Island organizations and by a private bequest.  When the Society is no longer able to cover salaries and running costs, the Health Centre will be obliged to cut services.  In view of the Ministry of Healths’ increasingly stringent regulations, it is unlikely that medical practitioners would be operating out of private homes as they did in the old days, and a modern  emergency room under those circumstances would be an impossibility.

What can the public do?

First, use the clinic. Last summer, VIHA attempted to reduce the Galiano doctor’s position to part-time with the rationale that the clinic was underused.  To find out what services are available at any time, phone the Centre at 3230; even when the clinic is closed, clear directions as to your alternatives will be left on the answering machine. Current information has now been posted on availability of services on the island’s public bulletin boards, and will be updated regularly.  Soon this information should also be available online.
Support the Society.  Become a member.  Attend fundraisers.  Write letters.  Many battles have been fought and many, many volunteer hours have gone into the effort to provide excellent and consistent  health care for you here on Galiano.

If the matter of tax funding supporting the medical centre does come to a referendum, think seriously about what the services provided to this community by the Health Centre mean to you, your family, your visitors, and perhaps to your business. The amount added to the average property tax bill  would scarcely buy you lunch for one at the pub…once a year!

To end on a positive note, there has been some interest in the position shown, and at present VIHA is in discussion with a serious applicant.