Vancouver Coastal Health

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is a regional health authority providing direct and contracted health services including primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary care, home and community care, mental health services, population and preventive health and addictions services in part of Greater Vancouver and the Coast Garibaldi area.

Vancouver Coastal Health
VCH service area map
MottoPromoting wellness. Ensuring care.
TypeBritish Columbia Health Authority
Mary Ackenhusen
Key people
Laura Case, Charlene Chiang, Dr. Dean Chittock, Dr. Marshall Dahl, Dr. Patricia Daly, Vivian Eliopoulos, Barb Lawrie, Yasmin Jetha, Karin Olson, Darcia Pope, Ron Quirk
$3.2 billion (CDN) (approx)
20,000 (approx), 5,000 volunteers (approx), 2100 physicians

VCH is one of six publicly funded healthcare regions within the Canadian province of British Columbia. The Provincial Government of British Columbia, through the British Columbia Ministry of Health, sets province-wide goals, standards and performance agreements for health service delivery by the six health authorities.

Service area

VCH serves the one in four of British Columbia’s four-million population who live in a geographic area of 58,560 square kilometres including 12 municipalities, four regional districts and 14 Aboriginal communities, including:

  • Vancouver
  • Richmond (within Greater Vancouver))
  • North Shore (Vancouver) (The municipalities and districts of North and West Vancouver, within Greater Vancouver)
  • Coast-Garibaldi (Sea-to-Sky (including Whistler), Sunshine Coast, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola).

Vancouver Coastal Health administers 13 hospitals and 3 diagnostic and treatment centers and 15 community health centers and more than 500 facilities provide a range of direct and contracted services including home and community care, mental health services, population and preventive health, addictions services and primary care.

VCH is not responsible for all health care within Metro Vancouver. Other hospitals such as BC Children's Hospital, B.C. Women's Hospital & Health Centre, and agencies such as the BC Cancer Agency are operated by the Provincial Health Services Authority. Downtown Vancouver's St. Paul's Hospital is operated by Providence Health Care. Community partners and non-governmental organizations also provide certain health care services either in collaboration or under contract.

Health services provided

Public health Primary care Acute care Home & community services Mental health & addictions
  • Environmental health protection:
    • Food & water safety
  • Disease surveillance & control:
    • Immunization
    • HIV/AIDS Programs
  • Children & youth services
  • Primary care clinics
  • Aboriginal services:
    • Health & wellness
    • Addiction & Treatment
    • Community health
  • Hospital inpatient care
  • Surgery specialties & subspecialities
  • Complex medical surgery (tertiary & quaternary)
  • Acute and specialized rehab
  • Urgent care
  • Same-day care
  • Ambulatory care
  • Community services
    • Assisted living
    • Home care
    • Occupational therapy & physiotherapy
    • Adult day care
  • Residential services
    • Complex care
    • Hospice care
    • Transitional care
  • Community Development
  • Housing
  • Emergency & urgent services
  • Residential & community services
  • Addictions
    • Needle exchange
    • Supervised Injection Site
    • Free safer supplies[1]

Denominational agreements

Seven care facilities, including British Columbia's second-largest hospital, St. Paul's Hospital, are operated through agreement with Providence Health Care, a Roman Catholic faith-based care provider. The CEO of Providence sits as a member of VCH's executive team. Through another affiliation agreement with the United Church of Canada, VCH also provides health services in Bella Bella and Bella Coola and the surrounding areas. VCH treats patients referred for specialized services from other health authorities throughout the province.


Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) is a world leader in translational health research, enabling the best in patient care by rapidly turning research discoveries into new therapies, surgical techniques and treatment practices. VCHRI includes three of BC’s largest academic and teaching health sciences centres—Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre—as well as many other hospitals and public health agencies across Vancouver Coastal Health.

VCH Research Institute has over 1,500 principal investigators, staff, and trainees located in 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2) of dedicated research space at VGH, UBC Hospital and GF Strong. VCH Research Institute is one of Canada’s top funded health science research centres with $98.6 million in total research funding in 2011/2012. VCHRI is the research body of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and is academically affiliated with UBC Faculty of Medicine.


  • VCH provides 46% of all inpatient specialized care(tertiary/quaternary) for the over 4 million people in British Columbia and operates:
    • 1,384 acute beds
    • 95 rehab beds
    • 6,577 residential beds
    • 830 assisted living beds/units
    • 787 mental health supported housing units
    • 589 mental health beds
    • 1,366 addictions beds
  • On average, VCH annually provides:
    • 2.8 million patient days of care
    • 356,000+ annual Emergency Department visits (one person every two minutes)
    • 845,000+ annual clinic visits
    • 89,000+ annual same day surgical visits
    • 82,000+ inpatient discharges
    • 2.3 million+ residential care days
    • 3.5 million+ home support hours
    • 182,000+ home nursing visits
  • In October 2008, VCH was named by Mediacorp Canada Inc. as one of BC's Top Employers, according to coverage by The Vancouver Sun, The Province and the Victoria Times-Colonist.[2]

See also

Other health authorities in British Columbia


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