Four staff members at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen were self-isolating on March 19. The regional district is also considering whether to continue keeping its doors open to the public. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Four staff members at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen were self-isolating on March 19. The regional district is also considering whether to continue keeping its doors open to the public. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

No funding for Primary Care Networks from South Okanagan Similkameen Hospital District

The $1.4 million was part of Interior Health’s annual budget request

Concerns from directors of the South Okanagan Similkameen Hospital District were aired on Thursday, Jan. 21 regarding Interior Health’s annual budget request and how $1.4 million of that request would be spent.

The board voted to deny the $1.4 million, while approving the rest of their $4,387,200 budget funding request for 2021, which includes $460,000 in improvements to the Princeton General Hospital, and $760,000 for the Summerland Health Centre.

The excluded $1.4 million was marked for Primary Care Networks (PCN) in the South Okanagan Similkameen, but the exact locations and expenses are not outlined in the budget.

Director Ron Obirek was the only director on the board of the SOSHD to vote against excluding the PCN request.

READ MORE: Hospital district decision not the end for clinic funding chances

The PCN project is a joint effort between Interior Health, the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice and the Penticton Indian Band and approved by the Ministry of Health in 2018. The Osoyoos Indian Band, Lower Similkameen Indian Band and Upper Similkameen Indian Band are also collaborating on the PCN project.

Interior Health notes in their presentation to the SOSHD board that space has been identified in existing IH facilities for the development of the SOS PCN, with funds going towards the renovations necessary to offer expanded service and staffing.

A large part of the concern stemmed from the vague nature of the request for funding for what it would be used for, as well as the potential financial impact on the SOSHD’s reserves and taxes.

“Typically in the past, we’ve paid for tangible assets,” said RDOS chief administrative officer Bill Newell. “Information technology was a new ask just a couple of years ago.”

Directors were assured that the funds were not directed for a single community, but would be distributed to improve care throughout the South Okanagan Similkameen.

The board wanted to see a more detailed plan before they could approve the request, and for Interior Health to include the district in their plans and discussions on primary care in the region.

It was noted that if IH received Ministry of Health approval and provided the board with more detailed plans laying out where the funds would go, that the request could be reconsidered and added back into the budget.

According to the SOS Division, there have been 12,000 individuals in the RDOS who do not have a family doctor due to their previous one retiring without a replacement, or having recently arrived in the region.

READ MORE: Funds sought for Okanagan man seriously injured in snowmobile accident

To address the ongoing lack of doctors, divisions across Interior Health have been working on a collaborative recruitment strategy, while the local South Okanagan Similkameen Division is working with Health Match BC, the UBC Okanagan South Family Medicine Residency program hosted at Penticton Regional Hospital and with the Ministry of Health efforts to develop Primary Care Networks.

The funding request and the PCN request by Interior Health is separate from the SOS Division’s work to establish Primary Care Clinics like Ponderosa in Penticton, and from their request previously to the SOSHD for additional funding for physician recruitment.

To report a typo, email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
Interior Health notes 80 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

108 people in the region have died from the virus

RDuring a short downpour of rain, Sickle Point Committee member, Renee Halo Martin,  gives a green ribbon to Kaleden supporter Michael Bland. (Submitted)
100 cars lineup to get green ribbons to save Sickle Point

The Kaleden committee has until June 1 to raise $1 million

Penticton fire crews put out hot spots at a controlled burn that got a little close for comfort at Riva Ridge Estates March 8, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Controlled burn comes close to Penticton homes

Residents of Riva Ridge Estates got out their hoses before fire crews arrived

The goal of the group is to help women owned businesses recover from the pandemic and to assist women to become angel investors and women owned or co-owned businesses to better access capital.
Okanagan women’s investor fund launched to aid women-owned businesses

Twenty-five women have formed a new Okanagan angel investment fund

It's tick season in South Okanagan.
Tick season has started in South Okanagan

A Penticton adventure company collected 200 ticks last year to be studied for Lyme Disease

Five Kelowna writers are featured in an anthology that launched in time for International Women's Day. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
International Women’s Day: Book exploring fears features Kelowna writers

The book has launched in time for International Women’s Day

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, an Okanagan based-law practice, and provides Kelowna Capital News with weekly stories from the world of local, national and international law. (Contributed)
Kootnekoff: Royal Dismissal

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

(File photo)
RCMP seek witnesses after 2 different reports of man chasing children in Kelowna

Both incidents occured around Dougall Road in Rutland

Most Read