By Amy Fendley The Sea to Sky Community Health Council has been awarded a three-year accreditation status by the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation, marking the first regional health authority in B.C. to receive such designation under the new regional, client-centred standards. The accreditation program is voluntary, independent of government agencies. The Sea to Sky Community Health Council assumed responsibility on April 1, 1997 for the governance and operation of the Whistler Health Care Centre, Pemberton Health Centre, Howe Sound Home Support, Hilltop House and the Squamish General Hospital. Previously the various health centres were each run by their own board. The accreditation body, which insures all health care facilities are meeting national health care standards, commended the health council for its efforts towards better co-ordination of health care in the corridor. "This gives strong recognition to staff and the health authority on work being done," says Fran Cuthbert, vice-chair of the Sea to Sky Community Health Council. "It will also assist us with increased funding for Whistler and Pemberton facilities. "This is a very good indication of the state of our health care facilities and a strong statement that the facilities are being professionally run." The accreditation body also made a few recommendations for improvement, including increased mental health services throughout the corridor, caesarian section availability at Squamish General Hospital and enhanced security at one site. Brian Kines, CEO of the Sea to Sky Community Health Council, says that the importance of the accreditation is that it looks at how effectively the staff have worked together to provide services, exceeding minimal standards of quality of care provided. "We’re very, very positive," says Kines. "This is an indication of the level of support we have from staff, our improved services and our moving towards strong accountability of services in the community." Meanwhile, the Coast Garibaldi Community Health Services Society recently appointed Geoffrey Rowlands as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective Oct. 5. The Coast Garibaldi Community Health Services Society works in close collaboration with the Powell River, Sunshine Coast and Sea to Sky Community Health Councils to plan and deliver optimum health services to these communities through integrated, efficient and effective services and programs. Rowlands was previously the director of health unit services in Vancouver and a regional health programs and hospital administrator in the U.K. He is currently a partner with the Health Management Resources Group, a B.C.-based consulting organization.