Do you have local medical care?

By Vanessa Hammond

Are you one of the fortunate 7,300 people, mainly in James Bay, who access medical care at the Co-op Health Centre, 547 Michigan St? If so, we are very happy that we can care for you. Did you know that the medical services were scheduled to be closed in 2010 due to a change in funding, but the Victoria Health Co-op stepped in. Since then the practice has grown. We now care for over 7,300 patients. But this takes a lot of volunteer effort. Would you help?

How to get involved

First, join the Victoria Health Co-op. Being a patient at our Health Centre does not automatically make you a member of the Co-op. Nor does being a member put you on the patient list. That would contravene the Canada Health Act. Becoming a patient always depends on the ability of practitioners to accept additional patients and, unfortunately, we are full at present.

But membership is easy, $50 or equivalent for a lifetime membership which brings you many benefits separate from becoming a patient at the Co-op Health Centre.

Why get involved? Why join the Victoria Health Co-op?

Your $50, together with the member-ship payments of other members adds to the “facilities and services” fee we receive from the doctors for the use of the exam rooms and offices, the work of the Medical Office Assistants (the welcoming, competent staff who greet you and look after appointments and records), medical and office supplies, computers, electronic medical records, cleaning, insurance and all the other costs of running the Co-op Health Centre. We also receive a facilities fee from the Complementary and Alternative practitioners at the Co-op Health Centre even though they handle all of their own records and appointments.

As a member-owner you have a say in our plans. You can help us to grow the Co-op Health Centre so that it can become a “Health Home” where a range of professionals can meet the physical and mental health and medical service needs of our community, including social services. Let us know your thoughts about this aim.

We continue to work hard to bring in additional practitioners. If you know a doctor elsewhere or a recent graduate who would like to move to Victoria, please let us know.

Our proposal for a Nurse Practitioner is moving through the official channels. Will you send an email of support to the Board or sign our support form on the clip-board at the Co-op Health Centre?

We are very pleased that our Internist, who specializes in working with patients with multiple complex conditions, is accepting referrals from Family Physicians in the community as well as our own physicians at the Co-op Health Centre. Medical professionals can contact Dr Robin Lowry directly at the Health Centre’s confidential fax 250.380.0245 to discuss such referrals. Can you help to spread the word?

What are the other benefits of membership in the Victoria Health Co-op?

In addition to having a voice and helping us to grow the Co-op Health Centre, what’s in it for you? What are the benefits of membership?

First, it gives you access to our original services. We established the Victoria Health Co-op in 2008 to facilitate good contact between our member-owners who are Complementary and Alternative practitioners (CAMs) and those of us who enjoy the benefits of these treatments. Because of the rigorous process of our CAM Committee, we know that the CAM practitioners are highly qualified, registered with their professional bodies and committed to the concept of community-based wellness and health. 

At our Monthly Members Wellness Clinics our generous CAM practitioners provide treatments on a pay-as-you-can-afford basis. This is a wonderful way to explore new modalities. The payments are deposited in the Health Access Fund which is used to enable low-income member-owners to access treatments they could not otherwise afford.

There’s more! Our member-owners are involved in a range of community programs in co-operation with community organizations, BC Housing, libraries, Rainbow Co-op. For information about being a participant or volunteer in any of the small group wellness programs such as Choices and Hans Kai, please contact the Board.

And a new invitation. The Co-op Health Centre provides its walls as a venue for community artists to exhibit their work. If you are a local professional artist interested in this opportunity please contact Dacia at, 250-588-3922. These works of art are seen and enjoyed by our staff and contractors and, most importantly, they lift the spirits of our patients and give exposure for the artists.

We need some additional volunteers. Can you help by keeping the displays in the Co-op Health Centre organized, writing a monthly article about the Co-op, joining the Board as we move ahead towards developing a “Health Home”, attending Board meetings to take Minutes, organizing our Co-op records, making weekly bank deposits, being out Volunteer Co-ordinator or fund raising.

And of course we welcome your donations through Go Fund Me The Creating Community Wellness Society CRA 83383 5457also welcomes donations and supports the work we do in co-operation with other charities. Please contact our Treasurer for details Chris 250 516
Learn about us! Please pick up a green flyer at the Co-op Health Centre.

Again, THANK YOU for all the support. It is still a struggle because of the lack of doctors, but your support makes a huge difference. 

MLA Report: Working for Change

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