Need rather than geography

Authority Vancouver Coastal Health

Annette needed to enrol her 15-year-old son Peter in a specialized mental health program. Peter was not attending school and was in-and-out of the BC Children’s Hospital, where Annette learned about a specialized, Vancouver-based program. Annette had previously explored youth mental health services for Peter within her community, however, these services were not appropriate for her son.

When Annette contacted the health authority to discuss Peter’s eligibility for the Vancouver-based program, the health authority told her that Peter was not eligible because he lived outside of Vancouver. Believing that it was unfair to limit access to a specialized service in this fashion, Annette contacted us.

We consulted with both the health authority and the Ministry of Children and Family Development, which also had a role in administering the program. The authorities told us that they had to limit access to the program. The program had limited resources and, in their opinion, it wasn’t clear whether Peter was a good candidate for the specialized program.

Peter’s assessment, however, had not been based on a formal evaluation process that would normally determine a youth’s suitability for the program. We were concerned that Peter’s exclusion from the program seemed largely, if not entirely, based on his place of residence rather than his individual need and suitability for the program.

We asked the health authority to properly evaluate Peter to determine whether he was a suitable candidate for the specialized program. After reviewing his medical and treatment records and a recommendation from a psychiatrist, the health authority assessed Peter’s suitability and he was accepted into the program.

As a result of our investigation, the health authority provided Peter with the treatment he needed and also agreed to consider referrals to the specialized program for candidates living outside Vancouver.

Category Health
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2014
Location The Lower Mainland