More urban Indigenous people in Vancouver will gain access to health care at a specialized medical centre, thanks to a $2 million expansion funded by the Ministry of Health and the First Nations Health Authority.
The health ministry and FNHA will provide more than $1.8 million in ongoing funding and over $200,000 in one-time funding to Lu’ma Medical Centre.
The government says in a statement the money will be used to expand Indigenous primary-care services at the centre, which will soon be able to hire a dozen additional full-time equivalent health-care professionals.
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That will help the centre serve 1,750 new patients, the ministry says, bringing its total patient count to 2,900.
Lu’ma, which was founded to address the significant health disparities faced by Indigenous people, is in its third year of operation and provides health and outreach services.
The centre’s website says it has a four-to-five-week wait-list.
“We provide culturally integrated care through an Indigenous lens, which enables us to take back control of our own health and wellness through self-determination,” said the centre’s clinical director Michael Dumont in a statement.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the expansion will help connect more people to health care when they need it.
“For people who have been struggling to access culturally appropriate and respectful health-care services, this will make a big difference in their lives, by linking Lu’ma to our current primary health-care strategy.”
According to the ministry, some patients travel to Lu’ma for treatment from as far away as Bella Bella.
—With files from the Canadian Press