Delta Hospice would rather lose funding

It looks like the leadership of the Delta Hospice Society has decided to forgo substantial funding from the Fraser Health Authority by refusing to provide Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).

An article this week in The BC Catholic featured an interview with DHS board president Angelina Ireland who was quoted as saying the society rather lose funding, saying MAiD is completely incompatible with palliative hospice care.

About half the operating money the hospice receives comes from the government.

The article noted the society would rather give up $750,000 from the $1.4 million in annual government funding.   

By forgoing more than 50 per cent of its government funding, Delta Hospice would be exempt from having to provide medically assisted suicide, claimed Ireland.

The society reportedly made the offer to the government but there’s no indication that such a deal would be accepted.

The article also noted Ireland acknowledged the lost funding would force the hospice to seek new funding.

The Delta Optimist yesterday reached out to Ireland for further comment.

The FHA has given the society a deadline to agree to provide MAiD.

The new board of the society has been on a collision course with the health region after reversing a decision by the previous board to allow MAiD at the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner.

A spokesperson with the region told the Optimist that the FHA “reached out again to the Delta Hospice Society to share our expectations that they comply to permit medical assistance in dying by Feb. 3, 2020.”

Health region representatives previously met with the leadership from the Delta Hospice to discuss the society’s compliance of their contract.

The issue has been a heated and divisive one for the society.

In July 2016, the federal government passed legislation permitting medical assistance in dying.

Fraser Health approved its policy later that year that mandates hospices provide the procedure.

Following a heated annual general meeting that saw the makeup of the society board change, shifting power to MAiD opponents, the new board quickly reversed the decision made a week prior by the previous board.

In a letter to staff, volunteers and members at the time, Ireland said the new board’s motion was based on two independent legal opinions that MAiD is not compatible with the purposes of Delta Hospice Society as stated in its constitution.

Opponents say that since the procedure is available elsewhere, it should not be forced upon Delta Hospice to perform.

Dying with Dignity Canada stated Delta Hospice should abide by Fraser Health’s policy that MAiD be provided in all non-faith-based facilities under its jurisdiction.

A Fraser Health spokesperson yesterday noted there’s nothing currently new to report on the situation.

© Delta Optimist