Sample letter to your Member of the Legislative Assembly in Alberta
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Dear MLA FIRSTNAME LASTNAME,
I am writing to you today to recommend improvements to our universal, publicly funded and publicly delivered health care system.
Like many Albertans, I believe that income should not be a barrier to being able to live a healthy life, and that a productive and prosperous economy requires a healthy population.
My main concerns are:
- Secrecy around private care and service contracts.
- Continued expansion of private long-term care.
- Private delivery of much needed homecare services.
- Private clinical services
- Primary care networks
- As a taxpayer, I am concerned that many contracts to private health and support service providers in Alberta are kept secret. I believe we have a right to know how much we are spending on private care and services, what their contract terms are, and what benefit if any there is to Albertans. I believe when the evidence is made clear, there will be demand to return many of those services back to public delivery where profit margins will no longer bear an added cost to our health care delivery.
- I also know that regardless of possible cost savings, private services such as Long-Term care have been shown to provide better care when publicly delivered. The government of Alberta has announced they will continue with many of the previously planned private care facilities, and I believe our priority for new care beds should be within the public system. Many functional public facilities such as Valley Park Manor and the Little Bow Continuing Care centre were unnecessarily closed by the previous government and should be looked at to be reopened once again as public spaces.
- The vast majority of home care in Alberta is under contract to private providers. In a cost competitive and profit driven environment, these providers are employing a precarious workforce who are underpaid and often under trained. These workers are then less likely to advocate for their patients or themselves. Staff turnover and missed shifts will continue to hurt the delivery of home care until we move to a public delivery model that is funded adequately to attract and retain a stable workforce.
- Private clinical services such as those provided at the Copeman clinic create known issues such as queue jumping where lower income Albertans are put at a disadvantage in timely access to care. Without a proper review and oversight many questions arise. Are they hiding extra billing fees? Are unnecessary services being billed to the public system? Are they taking away needed resources from the public system?
- The patient-focused theme of Primary Care Networks is a step in the right direction. However there are concerns about the priority on profitability of these clinics. Like private clinical services, PCNs should be placed under a similar review. Physician compensation should be examined. A move to a salaried system could provide greater results than fee for service both in terms of costs, and priorities as the temptation to put volume ahead of quality is removed.
I would like to know if you agree with these areas of concern and what actions your caucus as well as yourself personally will be taking to improve upon our universal, publicly delivered health care system.