- Category: news
- Created: Tuesday, 22 October 2013 13:37
- Published: Tuesday, 22 October 2013 13:37
- Written by Administrator 3
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CINDY E. HARNETT / TIMES COLONIST
Three levels of government met in Vancouver Monday to herald the historic transfer of all Health Canada health programs and services to B.C. First Nations via the first aboriginal health authority in Canada.
Sto:lo Tribal Council Grand Chief Doug Kelly, also chairman of the First Nations Health Council, officially unveiled the new First Nations Health Authority in Vancouver. He was joined by federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose and her B.C. counterpart, Terry Lake.
“The support of our chiefs and leadership has been essential to moving forward with this historic decision to transform our health care,” said Kelly, who lives near Cultus Lake. “Now is the time for B.C. First Nations to take our rightful place, determining our own health outcomes and what wellness means to us.”
The authority will have offices in each of the existing health regions but does not aim to replace or duplicate the services provided by the B.C. Health Ministry and the six regional health authorities. The established health authorities will still provide health services to all British Columbians — including acute care through hospitals and clinics.
The First Nations Health Authority is to work with the regional health authorities to address service gaps and improve health outcomes for members of B.C. First Nations.
It will focus on preventing and combatting chronic disease, infection and injuries, as well as promoting programs relating to public health, wellness, mental health, substance abuse and maternal/child health programs.
Lake said the achievement gives First Nations across the province the power to help improve the health of their people.
The new authority plans to incorporate First Nations culture, beliefs, values and health techniques in the makeup and delivery of its programs.
Federal funding through the Canada Funding Agreement adds up to roughly $380 million per year for a projected total of $4.7 billion from July 1, 2013, through March 31, 2023.
As of the end of fiscal year 2012-2013, the B.C. government had provided $27 million to support the framework agreement.
That’s part of the province’s overall $100- million commitment over 13 years to the new authority by 2019-2020.