Here we go again. We're just 12 days into the new year and we have a fresh crisis on our hands. It seems there are more questions than there are answers.
We are told that the Beach Avenue Medical Clinic (BAMC) (Legal name: Beach Avenue Medical Clinic Inc.) may be forced to close its doors at the end of March.
How did we get to this point without major alarms going off? This week we all heard the CBC interview with Dr. Brinkerhoff. I don't know about you folks, but I was left wanting for more information. I was more troubled by what Dr. Brinkerhoff did not say, than anything he did say.
The Peachland Advocate reached out to Cindy Fortin and to Patrick Van Minsel. We chose these two because Cindy is the Mayor and Patrick is the new kid on the block. I offered Patrick this opportunity to shine and grow! Cindy responded immediately and was willing to engage. Patrick, however, was “crickets”. He appears to have chosen to run and hide on his very first challenge.
I called Doctors for BC (lower mainland) and spoke with them about the intricacies of attracting a Medical Director for our clinic. They told me that there were many small BC towns in the same situation and that what normally happens is the town would offer some kind of incentive for a doctor to locate here and to run the clinic.
I have a series of questions that I want answered. They are as follows:
- Who are the legal shareholders of Beach Avenue Medical Clinic Inc.?
- Is Dr. Brinkerhoff retiring and leaving medicine completely?
- When did the City first learn that Dr. Brinkerhoff was retiring?
- Does a Medical Director have to be full-time onsite? or can he/she run Peachland as a satellite office?
- Has the Mayor or Council made any “arrangements” with anyone connected to BAMC?
- Is the Beach Avenue Medical Clinic listed for Sale? If so, where?
Dr. Brikerhoff made no mention that he was advertising for a new Medical Director in his CBC Interview. If Dr. Brinkerhoff owns BAMC in total, then why wouldn't he move to protect that asset by trying to sell it? Selling a growing medical practice in BC should not be difficult. If you check out “Heaps and Doyle“, for example, you'll find several medical practices for sale. There is a Cariboo listing with only 970 active clients for sale for $516K!
The Peachland Advocate would like to speak with Dr. Brinkerhoff to get more information on this matter. Is it a case where Dr. Brinkerhoff is being screwed by the district? Some people might think so, but I do not. He could sell his practice and there is nothing any local politician can do about that. If Dr. Brinkerhoff is holding out to see if a new medical director can be found, then I'd like to see the advertising for that position.
If the good doctor is NOT advertising for the position of Medical Director, then why would he toss away a perfectly sellable business? We will get to the bottom of this incongruent story.
Meanwhile, citizens of Peachland are left to suffer. The downside ramifications of losing this clinic are enormous for the community. People move here based on a number of factors. For retired people, proximity to medical care is paramount in their decision-making process. Here is what we can expect from a clinic closure:
- Downward pressure on real estate values
- Loss of business for the two pharmacies in town
- Loss of business for the new medical lab in town
- Loss of business for IGA
- Loss of business for insurance and accounting
- Reduced tax base
- Increased travel costs for seniors seeking medical treatment
If, on the other hand, the Peachland council is not being fully transparent on this issue, then we are back to square one with trust for these folks. The Peachland Advocate is giving them all ample opportunity to pipe up and express some opinion on this.
No one allows a $900K business just evaporate. Someone is not talking, and that silence is at the expense of Peachland citizens!