Interior Health CEO and Chair tour Kimberley

Interior Health CEO and Chair tour Kimberley


The annual Interior Health (IH) Board Chair CEO Tour took place this week and CEO/President of Interior Health, Chris Mazurkewich was in Kimberley to speak with staff and community representatives.

Part of the tour was introducing the new board chair, Dr. Douglas Cochrane. With them, was Dennis Rounsville, Board Director, Jenn Goodwin, VP of Communications and Public Engagement, Terri Domin, Health Service Administrator for East Kootenay and Christine Neal, Site Manager.

“Doug has been with us for just 30 days so he’s a brand new chair with a very distinguished background,” said Mazurkewich.

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“Doug is chair of the patient quality council and [he is the] patient safety officer for BC. He is a very distinguished individual and pediatric neurosurgeon in his background so we’re most fortunate to have him. I predict he will be fantastic for IHA as the board chair.”

Mazurkewich says that the tour gives him, and the other IH representatives, the chance to talk with press, local auxiliaries, local politicians, physicians, staff and managers as well as meet with the foundation.

“It gives us a chance to set up a dialogue about what’s happening in each community. We can see and hear directly from people in an unfiltered manor,” Mazurkewich said. “We always come away with great stories and lots of learnings as well. The other thing is, you recognize how remarkable our staff are. When you meet them and actually hear directly from them; what they’re doing, what they’re working on, what their day to day experiences are like. I think the communities we have are fortunate to have such dedicated and compassionate people.”

“We operate in 55 communities, 20,000 people from Williams Lake to Cranbrook,” said Rounsville. “The expanse of what Chris oversees is remarkable in terms of services provided in a number of communities.”

When asked if IH would be continuing their lease and work here in Kimberley, Mazurkewich responded by saying, “I think we’ll always be in the community. It’s a great community. When we look at the services that are provided here and how they’re provided, we’ve actually talked to other communities about what’s happening here and how good the service is. We think Kimberley has fantastic physicians and staff and they work in an integrated manor; the patients benefit dramatically because of that. We’re trying to take this model and use it in other communities.”

“I think it’s actually really important that the community recognize that the model of care that is here is actually a model that is being used to replicate in other places,” said Cochrane.

For example, the local auxiliary has contributed to the MRI service that is currently under construction at East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook. Construction is expected to be complete in the spring of 2018, and the new MRI unit operational in the summer.

“We’re very grateful for their generous donation and continued work,” Mazurkewich said.

Up until recently, there has been a waitlist to see a physician in Kimberley, which has posed concern for some residents. Neal says that issue could soon be alleviated with the addition of a new physician.

“With the retirement of Dr. Haiduk, that left a number of orphaned patients,” said Neal. “I’ve been made aware today (we’ll probably hear more in the next meeting) that they’ve had some successful conversation with a new recruit. We’ll leave it to the physicians to make the announcements and introduction of that, but I think that’s positive for the community. Prior to Dr. Haiduk’s retirement there wasn’t a wait list in the community, which is what made this community attractive. They attached all members of the community as required, so I suspect that philosophy in the clinic will continue with the new physician.”

“I think with the group of physicians Kimberley has here, I would be surprised if they were not able to recruit high quality physicians,” said Mazurkewich. “We’re optimistic.”