Pubdate: Thu, 02 Jun 2011 Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC) Copyright: 2011 Times Colonist Contact: http://www2.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/letters.html Website: http://www.timescolonist.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/481 Author: Paul Glassen PRIVATE CARE WEAKENING ADDICTIONS, MENTAL HEALTH 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 treatment. 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 Nanaimo - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.