Health Foundation working towards improved services in region
The implementation of a new health foundation within the Peace Health Region was front and center at Falher Town Council’s regular meeting last week.
Town council met one on one March 5 with Peace Health Region Foundation President Jim Johnston and Trustee Craig Holmes to discuss the recent formation of the foundation and its mandate.
Johnston explained that the objective of the foundation, which was formed Oct. 31 of last year, is to further enhance health care programs and services within the Peace Health Region by soliciting corporate donations.
“This process is entirely new to us and to the region,” said Johnston during the meeting. “Right now, it’s strictly in the developmental stages. Our first step is just to let everyone know were out there.”
Johnston added the foundation is now looking at bringing in additional help in the form of local representation to assist in the decision-making process regarding how funds will be utilized.
According to foundation bylaws approved by the Peace Regional Health Authority, the organization is to be governed by no less than five and no more than 15 people.
Two of those people are handpicked members of the authority with eight others chosen through a public nomination process. The remaining five people are selected to sit on the foundation to represent various auxiliaries and other fund-raising organizations within the region.
“We’re looking at attracting a broad scope of representation (up to five people) from this region to join the foundation and help determine what is needed,” Holmes explained to councillors.
Holmes added the foundation is just beginning to come out with what he referred to as “information hits” which will be sent out to businesses, informing them what the organization’s purpose is.
“Our goal is to try and go after the larger corporations out there and solicit donations in an attempt to achieve common goals which will benefit everybody. “What we don’t want to do is step on any toes,” he said, adding the foundation was receptive to any and all suggestions which the Town of Falher might have.
Those comments paved a clear path for a response from Councillor Philippe Dube, who wanted to know what precipitated the formation of the foundation.
Holmes responded by saying the foundation would step up to the plate when funding shortfalls from Alberta Health were being felt by the regional health authority. He used the purchase of a MRI unit as one example of how patients within the region would be better served, adding, however, that the final say would come directly from the Peace Regional Health Authority.
“That’s where the problem has been for the longest time,” Dube replied. “We often feel like we’re being shortchanged in this area.”
Councillor Steve Carter asked how donations from the business sector would fit into the tax deduction equation. Johnston responded by stating that businesses making donations would be issued official receipts which could then be used for tax deduction purposes.
Town officials accepted the information presented by the foundation. No further direction is expected to be taken by council at this time.