Interior Health year in review: From Board Chair Erwin Malzer

Looking back on the highlights and challenges of 2015 for Interior Health

Interior Health Board Chairman Erwin Malzer

Interior Health Board Chairman Erwin Malzer

As I mark my first anniversary as Board Chair of Interior Health, I’m looking back on the highlights and challenges of 2015. From wildfires that blazed through much of our region, to major investments in surgical care, and a change in leadership within our organization, it has been quite a year.

We saw the departure of Dr. Robert Halpenny as President and CEO and in October, we announced his successor, Chris Mazurkewich. Prior to working with Alberta Health Services, Chris was Chief Operating Officer, Strategic & Corporate Services at Interior Health. It is great to have him back.

In September, we welcomed the first patients to the new Interior Heart & Surgical Centre.  Located in Kelowna, this state-of-the-art facility now delivers the highest level of surgical care ever seen in the Interior. We are thrilled to offer this calibre of health care to residents from every corner of our region.

With less than a year to go before the opening of the Clinical Services Building in Kamloops, a business plan is under development for a new patient care tower, the next phase of redevelopment at Royal Inland Hospital.

Planning is also underway in Merritt for the redevelopment of the Emergency Department at Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre.

In Ashcroft, a new temporary bus service is taking area patients to medical appointments in Lillooet with the physicians who will relocate to Ashcroft in the New Year upon completion of their Practice Ready Assessments.

An innovative outreach program is helping patients in the Cariboo access urology care closer to home. Urologists from Royal Inland Hospital now travel to 100 Mile District General Hospital to provide urology services for patients there.

A significant milestone was reached this year when our Board approved the Letter of Understanding with the Ulkatcho First Nation, the last of eight health agreements that create a strong partnership to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people.

We continue to develop new ways to use telehealth to help patients living outside of major urban centres. For example, a service introduced this year will help families in the Cariboo and Chilcotin region whose babies may have hearing loss, stay closer to home for testing by linking an audiometric technician in Williams Lake with an audiologist at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Our work to expand access to HIV testing and treatment has led to significant increases in screening for the disease. Since 2013, HIV testing in the region has increased by 50 per cent. Screening is a critical step in controlling and eventually ending the AIDS epidemic.

Throughout the year I really enjoyed meeting staff, physicians, volunteers, and our elected officials. We managed to cover a lot of territory including Barriere, Chase, Clearwater, Kamloops, and Salmon Arm. These visits are a priority for myself and the CEO, and over the coming year we will visit other communities in the region.

There is much to celebrate, but we also have much to accomplish. In an effort to decrease demand on hospital and residential services, we are shifting our focus to integrated primary and community care, embracing new approaches that not only benefit our patients but also the health-care system.

At Interior Health, every person matters and I am extremely proud of the staff, physicians and volunteers who demonstrate this philosophy every day in their dedication to quality health care. Our current board is exceptionally engaged and, for the first time, has a majority of women serving and chairing half of the board committees. I am confident that the next year will bring plenty of change for the better.

 

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

(TNRD Library)
Let the mystery of the Summer Reading Club begin

Are you ready to ‘Crack the Case’ at the Barriere Library?

(Metro Creative photo)
Gardeners of all ages invited to enter 2021 NT Fall Fair contests

The North Thompson Fall Fair Drive Thru scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4,… Continue reading

Milsom Lodge was built in the East Barriere Valley when the Milsom brothers purchased two parcels of land in 1911, DL 2323 and DL2324. (Milsom’s photo)
The Milsom Lodge: The mansion, the ballroom, the history

“At the turn of the century, when so many families were leaving… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read