Patient care delayed at Vancouver clinic embroiled in legal battle

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Patients continue to flock to the City Center urgent and primary care facility in downtown Vancouver, even though it’s hobbled by complex legal sparring is likely to drag on in the absence of decisive government intervention.

The chief medical officer for Seymour Health says at least 50 patients a day are sent to hospitals or other diagnostic facilities for X-rays, ultrasounds and lab work – services they used to be able to get on site – amid a legal battle with the Vancouver Coastal Health.

“What we’re hoping for is a resolution that will allow us to apply our full services to all patients who need it in a sustainable way within the public system,” said Dr. Eric Cadesky.

The two sides will go to court again on Friday in a complex legal battle over unpaid rent, millions in loans, and millions more in unpaid medical tests performed by Seymour Health and unpaid by VCH.

In the meantime, patients who see their family doctor or an urgent care physician at the center often have to make a second visit, with the added cost and burden to the health-care system, when nearly all could’ve been seen, assessed, and treated at the site.

BC GREENS URGE RESOLUTION

The BC Green Party toured the center on Tuesday, calling a press conference to discuss their dismay at the disruptions to patient care.

“There’s no fee for people, this is covered under MSP and this is a delivery model of healthcare that is meeting people’s needs,” said Leader Sonia Furstenau, who’s been promoting hubs for medical care as a more efficient, accessible and equitable method of health care delivery.

“When we have health care that is meeting people’s needs in an efficient way, in a way that prevents them from having to go to an ER where they have six, seven, 10, 24-hour waits. We should be saying how do we scale this up? How do we replicate this in other communities?”

Vancouver Coastal Health’s filings to the BC Supreme Court seek a receiver to facilitate the sale of two UPCCs it commissioned Seymour Health to open in a complex business partnership unique among government-funded, privately operated medical clinics. VCH claims it’s been bailing out the company for years while it stopped paying rent, while Seymour Health is suing for millions in unpaid tests they claim they promised would be paid after investing in diagnostic equipment.