Hospice struggles while others get millions

Campbell River Hospice is asked to continue doing more with less money while millions go to Greater Vancouver

News flash: Lower Mainland hospice societies receive millions in funding from the Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, in Campbell River, the city’s small hospice gets stiffed $5,000 by the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

“It’s very, very frustrating,” says Valery Puetz, board chair for the Campbell River Hospice Society.

On March 25, the Ministry of Health handed over $8 million for four hospice societies in the Greater Vancouver area: Marion Hospice $2 million, Peace Arch Hospice $3 million, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice $2 million and Vancouver Hospice $950,000.

In contrast, the Campbell River hospice, and two other Island societies, each receive $5,700 in annual funding from the health authority.

As well, according to Puetz, they also receive an additional $5,000 which typically goes to programming. Last year, the health authority wanted hospice to promote its advanced care directive.

Simply put, the directive is about people making informed decisions about their health while they’re still healthy and not sick or dying.

“That’s fine and we’re happy to do that, but the money’s been used and now there’s an expectation for us to do more with no money,” says Puetz.

She adds its difficult to run a society on $5,700 and then be expected to do more.

“They give us very little and have high expectations,” she says.