On November 13, 2019, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc) signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the FNHA’s Northern Regional Gathering in Prince George, on the traditional territory of the Lhedhli T’enneh. The MOU formalizes the commitment of both organizations to work collaboratively to improve health outcomes for BC’s First Nations and non-First Nations populations living in rural and remote communities.
“Rural and remote communities experience similar health care challenges whether they are First Nations communities or not,” said Richard Jock, Acting CEO, FNHA. “This partnership will strengthen our voice in support of these communities. We are looking forward to working with like-minded partners.”
“We’re very pleased to formalize our partnership with the First Nations Health Authority through the MOU,” said Dr. Ray Markham, Executive Director – Medicine, RCCbc. “Collaboration will allow us to leverage our combined efforts to improve access for all BC rural citizens to culturally safe and appropriate health care closer-to-home.”
The initial work of FNHA and RCCbc will focus on three areas:
- guiding and supporting the ongoing development of primary care networks to include a rural health context as well as reflect the vision and interests of BC’s First Nations communities and citizens;
- planning, designing and implementing First Nations-led primary health care initiatives; and,
- developing, designing and implementing a collaborative centre of excellence in virtual care.
Overall, FNHA and RCCbc are committing to working towards redesigning the health system to “ensure everyone has access to the care they need, no matter where they live.” This partnership is a foundational step towards achieving the shared goal of improving equity of health care access and outcome for both First Nations and non-First Nations citizens living in rural and remote BC communities.
FNHA and RCCbc have previously collaborated on rural health concerns in BC. Their most recent collaboration was the Provincial Health Care Partners’ Planning Retreat – in collaboration with BC’s Joint Collaborative Committees – which assembled key healthcare stakeholders to collectively explore how to best enable changes leading to improved patient and community health outcomes.