Kelownaarea First Nation plans hightech private hospital on band land
Kelownaarea First Nation plans hightech private hospital on band land

KELOWNA BC A British Columbia aboriginal band has plans to build a stateoftheart private hospital on its land overlooking Okanagan Lake just a stones throw from Kelowna BC
Band Chief Robert Louie said in an interview with CHBC television that selfgovernment gives his band the right to build the hospital without provincial interference
quotWell we cant use the word private hospital but it has the makings of a facility that people will pay forquot he said
Construction on the 120million proposed facility could begin by later this year The building would be three or four stories and have 100 beds
Louie said it would offer full hospital services except for emergency psychiatric and obstetrical treatments Patients would pay the entire cost of their stay It would operate outside Canadas medicare system
quotWere not going to rely on the public system were not going to rely on taxpayers to foot the billquot Louie said noting his community is trying to tap into the lucrative medical tourism business
quotWhy not keep the money here Thats part of our focusquot
Louie said band members voted 92 per cent in favour of the project Louie says construction will begin this year or 2013 at the latest
quotTheres no absolute guarantee but things do look good they look promisingquot
A statement from the BC Health Ministry declined to comment on the venture
quotIt would be premature for the ministry to comment on the merits or legality of such a clinic in the absence of any detail around the proposal itself and how it might fit with existing federal legislation including the provisions of the selfgovernment agreement between the Westbank First Nations and the federal government and the Canada Health Actquot
Private hospitals are not unique in British Columbia
Vancouver hosts the Cambie Surgery Centre which bills itself as quotthe most modern and only free standing private hospital of its type in Canadaquot
Among the specialties it bills are arthroscopic surgery gynecology vascular surgery and neurosurgery
Elsewhere in Vancouver the private False Creek Healthcare Centre has grown to include services such as family practice urgent care and pathology
Charging patients for services funded through medicare is illegal under the Canada Health Act and the federal government has withheld portions of health transfer payments from BC and other provinces when theyve allowed the practice

Date : 13 Apr, 2012
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