Island Health cancels RFP for 70 long-term care beds in the Comox Valley

Island Health has cancelled its RFP (Request for Proposals) for a 70-bed long-term care facility in the Comox Valley.

“Since issuing the RFP and based on community input, Island Health has determined there is a need to reconsider the requirements,” the health authority stated.

As a result, it cancelled the RFP on Aug. 3. Island Health anticipates re-issuing an RFP sometime in the future.

The authority does not identify the number of proponents involved in RFP processes. Though unconfirmed, speculation suggests St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox had submitted a bid.

The RFP was seeking proponents to own and operate the new and replacement beds to provide 24/7 care for people with complex care needs.

Opposition to the St. Joseph’s bid for the 70 long-term care beds was one of the issues raised by the Equal Access Committee, a grassroots community committee, formed in the spring, to address the RFP. The EAC was asking Island Health to consider “that any new residential care beds created in the Comox Valley be granted to a secular institution.”

A petition circulated the community and to date has garnered more than 2,600 signatures.

The reasoning behind the opposition was St. Joseph’s refusal to provide Medical Assistance in Dying, due to the hospital being owned by the Catholic church. (Bill C-14, declaring MAiD as a right in Canada, was given royal ascent in June of 2016.)

Equal Access Comox Valley continues to champion this objective.

Island Health plans to host community information sessions, likely in the fall, to gather feedback on its “preferred option to locate all six hospice beds in an Island Health owned and operated facility.” As it stands, there are four hospice beds at The Views, which is located at St. Joseph’s. Government funding has allowed for two additional beds in the community.

“As well, we want to hear about options community members may have,” the Island Health statement says. “The views of the community are extremely important to us and will be taken into consideration for future RFPs.”

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