Pubdate: Thu, 02 Jun 2011
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 Times Colonist
Author: Paul Glassen


In the mid-1990s, I immigrated to B.C. from the U.S. and continued my
social work career with those suffering chemical dependency and/or
mental illness. It was a great pleasure to finally work in health
facilities with the only eligibility requirements that are ethical and
moral: "You need this treatment, you want this treatment, you get it."
No delays, no disputatious insurance denials.

For those who are not worried that the situation has deteriorated for
"the addicted" or the poor, remember that the two-tier, public/private
splitting of our health system has led to treatment delays,
contaminated hospitals, more expensive eldercare and deterioration in
many areas of health care.

I used to refer people to the Victoria Life Enrichment Society
residential treatment program. From those who attended, I learned it
was among the best in the province. I could not understand it being
closed down by the government in 2002.

Then Cobble Hill's Skuleem Village for those with brain injury was
also closed.

Soon the explanation became clear when in place of Skuleem Village the
private Cedars was opened, an offshoot of the largest, also private,
treatment facility in the province, Nanaimo's Edgewood.

How ironic that in the addiction series articles it was Cedars program
director Rob DeClark who was the most quoted critic of inferior public

I respect his opinion, but because I shared it I could never work in
the private system and abandon those struggling to find help in public
health care.

Paul Glassen

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