LOADING...

January

31Jan

Chief medical health officer shares plan to stop Vancouver drug deaths

by admin


Judy Darcy, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (left), with Dr. Patricia Daly, the chief medical health officer at Vancouver Coastal Health, at the Lookout Housing and Health Society facility on Powell Street in Vancouver.


Jason Payne / PNG

Vancouver Coastal Health’s chief medical officer is urging health authorities to make it easier for people to start and stay on treatments for addictions as a way to spare lives during B.C.’s continuing overdose crisis.

Dr. Patricia Daly presented an update on the crisis at a public board meeting Wednesday that included four recommendations. She wants the health authority to implement treatment standards and monitor outcomes for patients’ addictions care, expand access to “opioid-agonist therapies” such as Suboxone and methadone, establish a safe and regulated supply of drugs, and expand addiction-prevention programs.

Daly’s first recommendation is to ensure that people who begin treatments for opioid addiction don’t slip through the cracks over time. She said residential treatment centres should have a standard of care and keep track of patients’ treatments.

“When we start people on treatment for their opioid addiction, they’re not retained on treatment in the long-term. So we need to have a system that will really track people over the long-term, including when they go into detox and recovery,” Daly told Postmedia. “There are people who are dying who just left detox and recovery because they’re not put on opioid-agonist therapy or being maintained on it.”

Daly wants it to be easier for people to access treatment in the first place. Many aren’t wiling to go to visit a clinic to begin opioid-agonist therapies, so the health authority needs to consider dispensing such treatments from emergency departments, and working with pharmacists to make it easier for people to access methadone, including at multiple pharmacies, Daly said.

People who are subsequently hospitalized or jailed must not miss doses of those treatments and risk relapse, she added.

Despite the expansion of harm-reduction measures such as naloxone and overdose-prevention sites, people are still dying from a fentanyl-poisoned street drug supply, which is why Daly is recommending a safer supply for people when other treatments fail.

Made with Flourish

She pointed to four sites offering injectable therapies, including a pilot program run by Dr. Christy Sutherland of the Portland Hotel Society which has started more than 300 people on injectable hydromorphone since 2016, and which in January introduced a tablet version of the drug for 50 new participants to crush and inject under observation.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has been planning for a similar pilot program that allows participants to take the pills with them, which Daly said is important for people who struggle to make multiple daily visits for supervised injection.

“I think we have to acknowledge that we’re in this crisis because of what’s happened to the illegal drug supply, and people are going to consume illegal substances,” she said. “We have to do everything we can to reduce the risk of people developing substance-use disorder, providing evidence-based treatments.”

Ensuring access to stimulants should be a next step, Daly added.

According to her report, 39 per cent of people who died of an overdose in Vancouver in 2017 used opioids daily, but another 19 per cent drank alcohol daily, 12 per cent used stimulants daily, and 18 per cent used both alcohol and stimulants daily.

Finally, Daly wants to see expanded addiction-prevention programs for youth, people living with chronic pain and First Nations people, who are five times more likely than non-First Nations people to experience an overdose, and three times more likely to die.

[email protected]

twitter.com/nickeagland

Related




Source link

31Jan

‘There’s a stigma’: First responders gather in B.C. to talk trauma

by admin

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, January 31, 2019 1:28PM PST

VANCOUVER – Eighteen years as a firefighter had exposed Greg Gauthier to endless trauma but a call involving a tour bus hitting a family triggered his descent into mental illness as intrusive thoughts and sleepless nights became his daily existence.

Gauthier, 48, could no longer function at work but the stigma of asking for help in a job where chaos is the norm initially prevented him from reaching out.

“I knew something was wrong right after that call,” he said of the August 2017 incident when an American man died and three others were injured as a bus rolled into a crowd of tourists, pinning at least two people beneath the vehicle.

Gauthier said it wasn’t the most horrific situation he’d encountered, but it was the one that broke him emotionally.

Over and over again, he would relive the scene of people taking cellphone video of the crash scene as police dealt with a hoard of visitors near a busy cruise-ship terminal and convention centre. Gauthier’s family life began to unravel and he felt helpless.

“When you don’t have control of your mind and when you can’t block those thoughts then you feel like you’re losing control and it’s an incredibly distressing feeling,” he said. “I’m still dealing with it a year and a half later but I’m certainly managing it.”

Gauthier finally realized that as a supervisor he had to set an example for the rest of his crew at a Vancouver fire hall so colleagues who had also been at the scene and others like it could feel free to talk about their struggles in a job that required them to soldier on day after day.

“There’s a stigma and we’re trying to break that down,” he said as he prepared to share his experience and gradual return to work at a conference of first responders meeting in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday and Friday.

About 350 people including firefighters, police officers, paramedics, dispatchers as well as their unions and associations are taking part in the event that will feature Gauthier and others in jobs where trauma is part of the job but talking about its impact is not.

Gauthier said he wondered if he’d have to prove himself all over again if he took time off, if he’d put the “brotherhood and sisterhood” of his job at risk.

“Part of my healing, part of my therapy, is talking about it,” he said, adding he got counselling. When he returned to work after five months he didn’t initially go out on calls, worked shorter days and slowly exposed himself to the rigours of the job, including driving past the accident scene that led to his breakdown.

WorkSafeBC, the provincial workers’ health and safety agency, brought together a committee of 14 first responder agencies that organized the conference.

Trudi Rondou, senior manager of industry and labour services for WorksafeBC, said the goal is to work toward dismantling the stigma of mental illness suffered by those who focus on protecting public safety but often need help themselves to cope with extraordinary stress.

The key to getting that help is a commitment from employers to put prevention, peer-support and return-to-work programs in place, she said.

“We did some research among first responders and that was one thing we clearly heard, that this has to be a culture change and we need to make sure our leaders are invested in this, not only with their words but with the budget and action behind it.”

Otherwise, the costs range from low productivity, a high number of sick days and the potential for long-term disability from post-traumatic stress disorder, Rondou said.

Last year, the British Columbia government amended legislation allowing first responders including emergency medical assistants, firefighters, police officers, sheriffs and correctional officers to make WorkSafeBC claims for compensation and health-care support if they’d been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, without having to prove it was related to their work.

Greg Anderson, dean of applied research at the Justice Institute of B.C., said most provinces have similar legislation, but coverage for first-responder jobs varies.

In Nova Scotia, for example, emergency-room nurses are included in so-called presumptive legislation while some provinces have coverage for post-traumatic stress injury and others only accept claims for post-traumatic stress disorder, Anderson said.

Federal first responders, including employees of the RCMP, the Correctional Service of Canada and those in enforcement roles for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, are not covered by presumptive legislation.


Source link

31Jan

First responders gather in B.C. to call for end to stigma in jobs full of trauma

by admin

Eighteen years as a firefighter had exposed Greg Gauthier to endless trauma but a call involving a tour bus hitting a family triggered his descent into mental illness as intrusive thoughts and sleepless nights became his daily existence.

Gauthier, 48, could no longer function at work but the stigma of asking for help in a job where chaos is the norm initially prevented him from reaching out.

“I knew something was wrong right after that call,” he said of the August 2017 incident when an American man died and three others were injured as a bus rolled into a crowd of tourists, pinning at least two people beneath the vehicle.

Gauthier said it wasn’t the most horrific situation he’d encountered, but it was the one that broke him emotionally.

Over and over again, he would relive the scene of people taking cellphone video of the crash scene as police dealt with a hoard of visitors near a busy cruise-ship terminal and convention centre. Gauthier’s family life began to unravel and he felt helpless.

“When you don’t have control of your mind and when you can’t block those thoughts then you feel like you’re losing control and it’s an incredibly distressing feeling,” he said. “I’m still dealing with it a year and a half later but I’m certainly managing it.”

Gauthier finally realized that as a supervisor he had to set an example for the rest of his crew at a Vancouver fire hall so colleagues who had also been at the scene and others like it could feel free to talk about their struggles in a job that required them to soldier on day after day.

“There’s a stigma and we’re trying to break that down,” he said as he prepared to share his experience and gradual return to work at a conference of first responders meeting in Richmond on Thursday and Friday.

About 350 people including firefighters, police officers, paramedics, dispatchers as well as their unions and associations are taking part in the event that will feature Gauthier and others in jobs where trauma is part of the job but talking about its impact is not.

Gauthier said he wondered if he’d have to prove himself all over again if he took time off, if he’d put the “brotherhood and sisterhood” of his job at risk.

“Part of my healing, part of my therapy, is talking about it,” he said, adding he got counselling. When he returned to work after five months he didn’t initially go out on calls, worked shorter days and slowly exposed himself to the rigours of the job, including driving past the accident scene that led to his breakdown.

WorkSafeBC, the provincial workers’ health and safety agency, brought together a committee of 14 first responder agencies that organized the conference.


The amount of overdose calls Vancouver firefighters deal with on a daily basis can be overwhelming, and are becoming routine.

Jason Payne /

PNG

Trudi Rondou, senior manager of industry and labour services for WorksafeBC, said the goal is to work toward dismantling the stigma of mental illness suffered by those who focus on protecting public safety but often need help themselves to cope with extraordinary stress.

The key to getting that help is a commitment from employers to put prevention, peer-support and return-to-work programs in place, she said.

“We did some research among first responders and that was one thing we clearly heard, that this has to be a culture change and we need to make sure our leaders are invested in this, not only with their words but with the budget and action behind it.”

Otherwise, the costs range from low productivity, a high number of sick days and the potential for long-term disability from post-traumatic stress disorder, Rondou said.

Last year, the British Columbia government amended legislation allowing first responders including emergency medical assistants, firefighters, police officers, sheriffs and correctional officers to make WorkSafeBC claims for compensation and health-care support if they’d been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, without having to prove it was related to their work.

Greg Anderson, dean of applied research at the Justice Institute of B.C., said most provinces have similar legislation, but coverage for first-responder jobs varies.

In Nova Scotia, for example, emergency-room nurses are included in so-called presumptive legislation while some provinces have coverage for post-traumatic stress injury and others only accept claims for post-traumatic stress disorder, Anderson said.

Federal first responders, including employees of the RCMP, the Correctional Service of Canada and those in enforcement roles for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, are not covered by presumptive legislation.


Vancouver Police and Emergency Paramedics on scene at a motor vehicle accident involving two cars and a Sunrise Seniors Living van at Oak Street and 57th Avenue, in Vancouver, February 9, 2017.

NICK PROCAYLO /

PNG


Source link

30Jan

‘He was such a northerner’: Remembering Bill Goodacre

by admin

Former MLA and Smithers city councillor, Bill Goodacre, who died Sunday in Smithers was known across the north for his big heart and desire to help constituents from all walks of life.

Goodacre, 67, served in politics in northern B.C. for more than two decades.

“All across Highway 16, people will remember him with a great deal of a feeling of loss because he was such a northerner and such a Smithers man,” said longtime friend and former Hazelton mayor, Alice Maitland.

“He he was totally open-hearted and open-minded, and people across this community valued him,” Maitland said.

The cause of death was not immediately available.

Political career

Goodacre was in politics for more than 20 years when, last October, he announced he was retiring from Smithers council for health reasons.

In 1996, he served one term as an NDP MLA for the Bulkley Valley-Stikine, and he was a city councillor in Smithers for 19 years.

“He just needed to be helping people. He has had a strong hand in building our communities here in the north,” Maitland told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk.

She said Goodacre was known for his accessibility and for advocating for his riding when he was in Victoria. 

“While he was down there, we saw more ministers than we had seen in my lifetime,” Maitland added. 

“I always say they don’t even know we’re alive up here, down there. But Bill Goodacre changed that picture.”

Flood of tributes

Tributes have flooded in from politicians and community members across the north.

Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach described Goodacre in a Facebook post as “a tireless ally for Indigenous people.”

Goodacre was the president of the Dze L’ Kant Friendship Centre and was heavily involved in the Shared Histories project with the Wet’suwet’en.

“He stuck up for those on the margins, those without homes, and those among us who were suffering. He held a vision of community based on compassion and most of all he wanted people to be kind to each other,” said Bachrach.

Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson also posted about Goodacre, describing him as a “good man, dedicated to social justice.” 

Honouring Goodacre

Last September, Smithers city officials recognized Goodacre for his years of service with the Freedom of the Municipality. In November, he was awarded an honourary lifetime membership with the BC NDP.

The city’s new supportive housing development is being named in Goodacres’ honour.


Source link

30Jan

Crackdown podcast turns B.C. drug users into ‘war correspondents’

by admin


Executive producer Garth Mullins of the Crackdown podcast at the Ovaltine Cafe in Vancouver.


Submitted: Alexander B. Kim/Crackdown / PNG

Fed up with attending funerals for friends and loved ones, people in the vanguard of B.C.’s overdose crisis have made a podcast to file dispatches about important stories they say the public and policy-makers are missing.

Crackdown, a new podcast recorded in Vancouver, launched its first episode, “War Correspondents,” on Wednesday. It starts by telling the story of Zoë Dodd, a harm-reduction activist who confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about addressing the national overdose crisis, and introduces listeners to the drug-user activists who make up the podcast’s editorial board.

It explores some of the agony caused by government inaction.

“The crisis has just taken so many people and it just keeps going, it’s not stopping, it’s spreading,” said Garth Mullins, Crackdown’s executive producer, writer and host. “I’ve lost 50 people that I came up with, at least. I just stopped counting at 50.”

Mullins, who for years used heroin and then methadone, said one goal of the podcast was to shed the stigma and challenge perceptions about people who use drugs.

“Drug users are everywhere — in your church, in your community, in your workplace — but the stereotype that you see in a lot of television production is a gritty back alley with somebody shooting up,” he said. “We don’t feel that’s a good representation.”

Mullins said media coverage often falls into two categories, one scapegoating drug users as “a destructive scourge on society,” and another which “pities drug users as just helpless waifs.”


A listening party for the new Crackdown podcast at the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users in January.

Submitted: Alexander B. Kim/Crackdown /

PNG

With Crackdown, listeners will get to know the drug-user activists who have fought for supervised injections sites, needle distribution and prescription heroin programs. They will take back some agency by telling their own stories.

Mullins said the podcast will remain grounded in research and data from its science adviser, Ryan McNeil, who is an assistant professor in the faculty of medicine at the University of B.C. and a research scientist at the B.C. Centre on Substance Use.

The podcast is aimed at Canadians impacted by the overdose crisis, but Mullins said he hopes it also reaches the ears of those in charge of making policy that could save lives, who he believes the media often let off too easy.

“The other audience for us is Justin Trudeau, the federal cabinet … Doug Ford and all the people who are running Ontario and trying to cap safe-injection sites,” he said. “The audience is John Horgan and the government of B.C., who are not acting fast enough to do something about this — the people who have their hands on the levers.”


An editorial board meeting for the new Crackdown podcast.

Submitted: Alexander B. Kim/Crackdown /

PNG

Dean Wilson, a longtime activist who in 2011 successfully fought a federal government appeal to shut down the Insite supervised injection site, sits on Crackdown’s editorial board and brings two decades of Downtown Eastside knowledge to the podcast.

“We’ve always been written about and the story has always been about us, but the narrative has never been ours,” Wilson said. “This is a way of setting our own narratives.”

New episodes are released on the last Wednesday of each month, and can be downloaded on most podcast apps or streamed at crackdownpod.com.

[email protected]

twitter.com/nickeagland

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].</p




Source link

Crackdown podcast turns B.C. drug users into ‘war correspondents’

by admin


Executive producer Garth Mullins of the Crackdown podcast at the Ovaltine Cafe in Vancouver.


Submitted: Alexander B. Kim/Crackdown / PNG

Fed up with attending funerals for friends and loved ones, people in the vanguard of B.C.’s overdose crisis have made a podcast to file dispatches about important stories they say the public and policy-makers are missing.

Crackdown, a new podcast recorded in Vancouver, launched its first episode, “War Correspondents,” on Wednesday. It starts by telling the story of Zoë Dodd, a harm-reduction activist who confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about addressing the national overdose crisis, and introduces listeners to the drug-user activists who make up the podcast’s editorial board.

It explores some of the agony caused by government inaction.

“The crisis has just taken so many people and it just keeps going, it’s not stopping, it’s spreading,” said Garth Mullins, Crackdown’s executive producer, writer and host. “I’ve lost 50 people that I came up with, at least. I just stopped counting at 50.”

Mullins, who uses heroin and methadone, said one goal of the podcast is to shed the stigma and challenge perceptions about people who use drugs.

“Drug users are everywhere — in your church, in your community, in your workplace — but the stereotype that you see in a lot of television production is a gritty back alley with somebody shooting up,” he said. “We don’t feel that’s a good representation.”

Mullins said media coverage often falls into two categories, one scapegoating drug users as “a destructive scourge on society,” and another which “pities drug users as just helpless waifs.”


A listening party for the new Crackdown podcast at the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users in January.

Submitted: Alexander B. Kim/Crackdown /

PNG

With Crackdown, listeners will get to know the drug-user activists who have fought for supervised injections sites, needle distribution and prescription heroin programs. They will take back some agency by telling their own stories.

Mullins said the podcast will remain grounded in research and data from its science adviser, Ryan McNeil, who is an assistant professor in the faculty of medicine at the University of B.C. and a research scientist at the B.C. Centre on Substance Use.

The podcast is aimed at Canadians impacted by the overdose crisis, but Mullins said he hopes it also reaches the ears of those in charge of making policy that could save lives, who he believes the media often let off too easy.

“The other audience for us is Justin Trudeau, the federal cabinet … Doug Ford and all the people who are running Ontario and trying to cap safe-injection sites,” he said. “The audience is John Horgan and the government of B.C., who are not acting fast enough to do something about this — the people who have their hands on the levers.”


An editorial board meeting for the new Crackdown podcast.

Submitted: Alexander B. Kim/Crackdown /

PNG

Dean Wilson, a longtime activist who in 2011 successfully fought a federal government appeal to shut down the Insite supervised injection site, sits on Crackdown’s editorial board and brings two decades of Downtown Eastside knowledge to the podcast.

“We’ve always been written about and the story has always been about us, but the narrative has never been ours,” Wilson said. “This is a way of setting our own narratives.”

New episodes are released on the last Wednesday of each month, and can be downloaded on most podcast apps or streamed at crackdownpod.com.

[email protected]

twitter.com/nickeagland

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].</p




Source link

30Jan

Former Mountie had sex with Surrey Six witness in cities across Canada

by admin


Former police officer Derek Brassington.


NICK PROCAYLO / PROVINCE

Derek Brassington, seen as a “rising star” in the RCMP, partied with and had sex with a witness in the Surrey Six murder investigation in locations across Canada over a period of months.

The details of the misconduct of Brassington and two other Mounties who also pleaded guilty in connection with their duties during the investigation of B.C.’s biggest-ever gangland slaying, can be reported for the first time after a publication ban was lifted Wednesday.

After submissions by media lawyer Daniel Coles, B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes set aside much of the ban imposed on the circumstances of the case when Brassington, David Attew and Danny Michaud pleaded guilty and were sentenced.

In an agreed statement of facts, it was revealed that Brassington became involved with the witness, who can only be identified as Jane Doe 1 due to an ongoing ban, in June 2009 when she moved to Calgary and agreed to co-operate with police. During the next several months, Jane Doe 1, who had knowledge of the October 2007 murders in Surrey and had been threatened, was relocated to various places throughout Canada. To keep her on-board as a witness, investigators with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) assigned Brassington to work with her.

Between June and December 2009 Brassington engaged in an ongoing relationship with Jane Doe 1, frequently drinking alcohol with her. He lied to fellow police officers and manipulated the witness protection program in order to spend time alone with her.

They had sex together in Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Victoria, Toronto and the Lower Mainland. Brassington compromised her security on several occasions and billed the RCMP for witness management trips that included his pursuit of his relationship with her, including billing overtime for hours spent drinking and having sex with her.

“This conduct constituted a breach of trust and amounted to a serious and marked departure from the standard of conduct expected of an RCMP officer engaged in witness management duties,” said the agreed statement of facts.


The Balmoral Towers, location of the “Surrey Six” killings.

NICK PROCAYLO /

PROVINCE

Particulars of the offence include a trip by Brassington to Calgary in June 2009 that saw him and another officer exploring Jane Doe’s willingness to co-operate with the investigation. They took her out to dinner and while the other cop was in a washroom, Brassington and Jane Doe discussed a plan to spend time alone together. Brassington and Jane Doe told the other cop that Jane Doe was going to spend the night at a friend’s house.

But after Brassington and the cop returned to their hotel, Brassington returned to the  bar where Jane Doe had agreed to wait for him and then took the witness back to his hotel where they had sex.

The next month, when Brassington flew to Halifax to attend to another witness, he obtained authorization to fly Jane Doe out to Halifax to meet with him for the purpose of securing her co-operation in the investigation. She provided information about the murders, but also spent three nights at his hotel having sex with Brassington.

Then the pair flew together to Montreal where they had sex again in a hotel. When Brassington’s supervisor became aware that he was alone in Montreal with Jane Doe, he called Brassington and cautioned him to meet with her only in public. Another officer arrived in Montreal, but Brassington and Jane Doe continued to have sex without the officer’s knowledge.

At one point in a bar in Calgary, Brassington, Jane Doe and others bought and consumed $800 worth of alcohol. Jane Doe sat on Brassington’s lap and kissed him in front of others.

At another point in the relationship, after they had had an argument, Brassington sent her a text bemoaning the “constant slinking around,” the excessive drinking and the “feelings of absolute guilt” toward his kids. He told her he didn’t enter into the relationship thinking they’d fall in love.

“The more attached I become to you, the more anxiety I feel over it,” said Brassington. “I want you to have a fresh start in life and feel that I have totally f—ed that up by allowing all this to happen.”

Related

Brassington received a conditional sentence of two years less a day to be served in the community after a joint submission from the Crown and defence.

In imposing sentence, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman accepted the joint submission and found that the conditional sentence could properly address the applicable sentencing principles.

Brassington gave an emotional apology in court, saying that the Surrey Six file came on the heels of the investigation into the RCMP’s tasering of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport and that he initially saw the murder probe as a chance to redeem the force.

“But instead of restoring the public trust, I killed it. I made it a thousand times worse with what I did,” he said.

Attew and Michaud admitted to a much lesser involvement in the case, pleading guilty to non-criminal misconduct and receiving shorter, house-arrest sentences.

[email protected]

twitter.com/keithrfraser

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].</p




Source link

30Jan

B.C. moves to stem high rate of overdose deaths by recent inmates

by admin

People stand over 2,224 wooden stakes — representing the number of confirmed overdose deaths in B.C. over the last three years, many of them painted with names of overdose victims — at Oppenheimer Park in downtown Vancouver last September. Canada’s opioid overdose crisis is primarily about illegal street drugs and not legal prescriptions, says commentator Susan Martinuk.


Wooden stakes at Oppenheimer Park in downtown Vancouver in 2018 represent the number of confirmed overdose deaths in B.C.


DARRYL DYCK / CANADIAN PRESS files

British Columbia is launching a project aimed at reducing the number of overdose deaths by inmates recently released from correctional facilities.

A coroner’s death review panel last year found about two-thirds B.C. residents who died of an illegal drug overdose over a 19-month period had recent contact with the criminal justice system.

The panel said that between January 2016 and the end of July 2017, 333 people died within their first month of release from a correctional facility.

The Health Ministry says in a news release that five new community transition teams have been set up in Surrey, Prince George, Kamloops, Nanaimo, and Port Coquitlam to help people with opioid use disorders get treatment.

The teams consist of a social worker and a peer who has used drugs and may also been incarcerated to work with a person who’s been released to help provide needed support.

Lynne Pelletier, with B.C. Mental Health and Substance Use Services, says people in the justice system are some of society’s most vulnerable, yet they are the hardest to reach in the current overdose emergency.

“Integrating correctional care with community-based care gives us an opportunity not just to prevent overdose, but also connect to health services and possibly change the trajectory of their lives by addressing some of the social and economic realities that brought them to us in the first place.”

Dr. Nader Sharifi, medical director for Correctional Health Services, says about 40 per cent of people in corrections facilities are getting treatment for opioid use disorder.

He says people are at a heightened risk when they leave a facility and don’t have access to a physician.

“There are barriers to continuing the treatment they start with us. Clients are facing stigma. They might have no income and no fixed address. It’s not as easy as visiting the nearest doctor’s office,” he says in a news release.

The community transition teams began connecting with their first clients this month. The Provincial Health Services Authority says it hopes to scale up the project next year based on results of the service.

Related


Source link

29Jan

Overbilling Vancouver physician faces discipline hearing

by admin


The medical office of Dr. Viem Chung Nguyen at 1209 Kingsway in Vancouver.


PNG

A Vancouver doctor who was ordered to repay $2 million related to medical service over-billings now faces a disciplinary hearing for refusing to answer questions from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.

Nguyen has been summoned to the college discipline committee meeting Feb. 12. The purpose of the hearing is to inquire into his “conduct or fitness to practise medicine in B.C.”

He is charged with failing to respond to multiple communications and correspondence from the college. But when there are serious findings by the Medical Services Commission about irregular, or even fraudulent, billing by doctors, as there was in 2017, the case often ends up back at the college for an investigation into the doctor’s ethical and professional conduct.

Nguyen graduated from the University of Montreal medical school in 2002. He specializes in physical and rehabilitation medicine, otherwise known as physiatry. Such doctors — there are three dozen in B.C. — have a broad range of knowledge about the musculoskeletal, neurological, rheumatological and cardiovascular systems.

Outpatient physiatrists (those working in communities as opposed to in hospitals) would see patients with orthopedic injuries, spine-related pain and dysfunction, occupational injuries and overuse syndromes, and chronic pain, for example.

Kristy Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said Nguyen can’t bill the Medical Services Plan until he is eligible to re-enroll after May 31 of this year. Strangely, Nguyen’s medical receptionist told a reporter over the phone that an appointment could be booked after a doctor’s referral and that he doesn’t charge patients directly; a B.C. Services Card (formerly known as the CareCard) can be used, she said.

Although the government insists that doctors should never bill patients directly for medically necessary services, Nguyen can do so during the temporary de-enrolment.

“During this time, Dr. Nguyen can practise medicine; it is only the college of physicians and surgeons that can remove that right. But he cannot bill to the Medical Services Plan,” Anderson said.

Susan Prins, spokeswoman for the college, said that as a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, “it is reasonable that a major part of his work might be privately funded, independent medical exams, but I can’t confirm that’s the case.”

Neither of the officials could answer why the receptionist told a reporter posing as a prospective patient that a visit would be publicly funded.

It’s unclear if Nguyen has paid back the $2 million he agreed to repay after an audit found a large number of billing irregularities. The government refuses to divulge such information. 

“Due to privacy restrictions under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the ministry is unable to release any third-party financial information or personal details,” said Anderson. 

“If an individual fails to pay an amount assessed by the audit, they are referred to the Ministry of Finance to pursue collection action as outlined in the Financial Administration Act or the governing statutes,” she added. 

Last year, the commission issued a report that said an onsite audit found poor documentation of Nguyen’s patient records and “for several patients, there was no evidence that Dr. Nguyen ever provided any care to that patient.” 

According to the latest commission report, the government body was able to recover about $8 million in 2017-18 from 18 audited doctors who were deemed to have over-billed in recent years.

There are about 11,000 doctors in B.C.

[email protected]

Twitter: @MedicineMatters

Appeal court rejects bid by first doctor ever thrown out of B.C. Medical Services Plan

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].</p




Source link

28Jan

Lead and mercury poisonings in herbal products prompt clinic shutdowns

by admin


An side look at the now-closed A1 Herbal Ayurvedic Clinic Ltd. in Surrey on Jan. 28.


NICK PROCAYLO / PNG

Cases of lead and mercury poisoning in consumers using toxic herbal products have led to clinic shutdowns, Health Canada seizures and recalls, consumer warnings and new B.C. rules for labs performing urine and blood testing.

On Monday, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) said Fraser Health has shut down a Surrey business called A1 Herbal Ayurvedic Clinic Ltd. after an inspection that also resulted in Health Canada seizing illegal products, ingredients from India and equipment on the premises.

Health Canada conducted the raid in Surrey and at an affiliated clinic in Brampton, Ont., after the BCCDC told the feds about a case of heavy-metal toxicity in a B.C. patient taking products from the Surrey clinic.

“Taking these items can lead to severe illness and even death,” the BCCDC said in a news alert, adding that people who bought products from the clinic and have concerns about their health should see a doctor.

The Surrey clinic operators couldn’t be reached for comment.

Health Canada said it had previously cancelled the A1 Herbal outlet’s natural health-products licence because it hadn’t been inspected or approved by the federal government for safety, effectiveness and quality. The company was, in fact, operating without a necessary Health Canada licence that indicates good practices in manufacturing, packaging and labelling of products.

Ayurvedic products are usually imported from India for customary healing practices. While exposure to lead has decreased substantially because of laws preventing its use in paint, gasoline and other products, it would appear heavy-metal poisoning remains a not insignificant problem in B.C., although data on deaths and illnesses isn’t available.

A report published early in the February B.C. Medical Journal describes another case of toxic lead poisoning in a 64-year old B.C. man who got progressively ill after taking an Ayurvedic herbal remedy he bought in India to “treat” his diabetes. The patient sought medical help for five months before being diagnosed with lead poisoning. He went to various hospital emergency rooms, getting “intensive workups” with CT scans, MRI imaging and endoscopies before being properly diagnosed by an internist who suspected lead poisoning and ordered the proper test.

Dr. Tom Kosatsky, a medical director at the BCCDC and co-author of the journal article, said the eventually recalled product called Quizz had “lots of lead and some mercury” in it and the patient’s symptoms — abdominal pain, dizziness, weight loss and nausea — were consistent with lead poisoning.

Kosatsky said it’s apparent that there are a lot of people suspected of having lead poisoning because B.C. doctors ordered nearly 5,000 tests looking for high levels of mercury and lead in blood and urine last year. Some of the testing is for occupational screenings among people who work with metals at their jobs while other tests are done in those suspected of toxicity from foods or products consumed.

Of all the tests conducted, there were over 100 lab-test results last year that were suspiciously high and required further tests and followup treatment.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that it’s clear that herbal remedies are popular with consumers. But the public should know they should only buy products that have met Health Canada standards; such information can be found on the product label.

Henry said investigations often show that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Lead toxicity can affect multiple communities, so under the new Public Health Act regulations, labs testing patient specimens will be compelled to report to the BCCDC and to Henry all tests ordered along with results. Heavy metals can be partly eliminated from the body through an intravenous or oral medication process called chelation.

Under the new rules that came into effect earlier this month, the BCCDC will “assess trends in testing and in metal biomarker levels by geography and demography.” And for results that suggest toxicity, the agency will contact doctors for the purposes of conducting follow-ups with patients to nail down the “likely source of exposure.”

Quebec is the only other province that requires such reports to public health, Kosatsky said, adding that Health Canada will soon be releasing clinical guidelines to help doctors identify heavy-metal poisonings and how to manage such cases.

Symptoms of lead and/or mercury poisoning:

Anemia (low iron), changes in blood pressure, concentration problems, kidney and brain damage, memory loss, tremors, headaches, insomnia, constipation, stomach pain, reproductive disorders and miscarriages/stillbirth.

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].</p


Source link

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.