Fraser Health has found no problems with the Delta Hospice Society’s books and no grounds for additional independent audits.
In a recent letter to Delta Mayor George Harvie and council, FHA president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee said health region staff reviewed the society’s most recent financial reports, including a review conducted by an independent firm, and identified no financial concerns.
There are no grounds to warrant an additional independent audit at this time, but the region will continue to monitor the delivery of services and financial reporting for any irregularities, she said.
“Based on the regular reports provided to Fraser Health and the Review Engagement, we have identified no financial concerns. The financial reporting aligns with the service delivery and contracted staffing models, and the management and overhead costs are reasonable and align with those of other providers,” wrote Lee.
The FHA was responding to Harvie’s repeated request that a financial audit of the DHS be undertaken.
Lee this summer also wrote to Harvie responding to concerns he raised regarding the delivery of care at the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner.
Lee noted Fraser Health licensing and palliative clinical staff have been visiting the hospice regularly to review the services in follow-up to the concerns raised.
“Investigations to date have confirmed that the quality of care provided to the residents continues to be upheld by the dedicated staff working at the hospice, and no concerns regarding the care have been identified. While we have not audited the Delta Hospice Society's finances, we have no indication that funding is not being utilized as per the Service Agreement,” Lee explained at the time.
Meanwhile, the battle for control of the DHS continues in the courts
A hearing was held at the B.C. Court of Appeal in August but was adjourned to allow B.C.’s attorney general enough time to prepare a position on a charter of rights argument by the current board.
The board filed the appeal to overturn an earlier petition to the B.C. Supreme Court which successfully halted a planned meeting by the board to have the society’s constitution amended to be Christian-based.
The petition by Chris Pettypiece, Sharon Farrish and former board president Jim Levin followed the current DHS leadership rejecting many society membership applications by Delta residents opposed to the board’s actions.
Accused of stacking the membership to impose their religious viewpoint, including signing up many non-Deltans, the current board is alleged to have breached the Societies Act by blocking people from joining. The board and its president Angelina Ireland are opposed to providing the legal procedure medical assistance in dying (MAiD) at the hospice.
The current board reversed a decision by the previous board to allow MAiD, saying it does not align with the goals of palliative care and the procedure is available next door at Delta Hospital.
Fraser Health has mandated that non-faith based hospices offer MAiD to those who ask for the procedure.
Health Minister Adrian Dix earlier this year said the society will lose its funding by Feb. 25, 2021.
“Fraser Health's job, and my job, is to ensure that Delta residents continue to have access to hospice services upon the termination of the contract with DHS,” he stated.