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health fund shortfall

Health council expecting more There still is no official word on the $550,000 the Sea to Sky Community Health Council says it needs to balance its operating budget. The health council submitted a budget for $15 million last month. The Ministry of Health is not expected to approve the budget until the fall. However, Health Minister Penny Priddy has indicated there may be additional funds available for the Sea to Sky Community Health Council. In response to questions in the legislature from West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA Ted Nebbeling, on June 29 Priddy acknowledged: "There are a number of health authorities around the province — and I’ve been quite frank about that — that have not had adjustments to their base. I could provide you with a variety of examples, where, while we have tried with new dollars to try and keep pace, some people or some health authorities started out with a base that many of us would probably agree wasn’t a large enough base. So we’re working to try and adjust those bases as we can and to put new money out, not on that same formula as the base was adjusted on. "We will continue to look at that with the Sea to Sky as well, and we will look at the diagnostic and treatment centre and see if we can find a solution for that which would put additional dollars into that council." The underfunding situation was brought on by the province’s decision to regionalize health care a few years ago, and exacerbated by the Sea to Sky Corridor’s growth rate. Prior to regionalization, each town’s health care facilities were funded individually. The health council maintains the corridor was 17.5 per cent underfunded when the regionalization program was initiated. Since then the corridor has seen 25 per cent growth. Yet funding for health care in the corridor has increased just .5 per cent annually — the same annual increase as received by communities which have had no growth.

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