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Albertans & Manitobans to rally online to Fix Seniors’ Care NOW

Albertans & Manitobans to rally online to Fix Seniors’ Care NOW

Today, Friends of Medicare, Manitoba Health Coalition, our allies, and advocates from across Alberta and Manitoba are taking to social media to call on our respective governments to #FixSeniorsCareNOW.
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating and disproportionate toll on Canada’s seniors. With approximately 82% of deaths coming from LTC facilities, this pandemic has exposed the real-life consequences of our governments' inaction.
 
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It's Christmas in May for contracted operators of continuing care centres

It's Christmas in May for contracted operators of continuing care centres

Yesterday, the Alberta government announced that they would be committing an additional $170 million for AHS-contracted continuing care facilities, to offset the loss of ‘revenues’ that have resulted from this pandemic. The announcement indicated that this funding is intended to be used for enhanced staffing and additional cleaning supplies, as well as to compensate continuing care providers for lost accommodation revenue. A total of $14.2 million will be provided every month, retroactive to March 15th, and until orders from Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health have been lifted.

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AHS review implementation must put Albertans and public health care at the forefront

AHS review implementation must put Albertans and public health care at the forefront

This week marks the 100 days which the Alberta Health Services (AHS) implementation team was given to report back on a detailed plan for which measures recommended in the Ernst & Young (EY) review would be implemented. The COVID-19 response has since put that on hold, but in the meantime, the pandemic has shone a light on the capacity and responsiveness of our public health care system, and has given Albertans pause when it comes to the wrongheaded direction that was recommended in this review.
 
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There's no room for profit & privatization in our seniors’ care

There's no room for profit & privatization in our seniors’ care

On May 4th Alberta Health Services (AHS) quietly announced that AgeCare was retained to operate Millrise Seniors Village in Calgary. AgeCare Health Services was tasked with overseeing the management and operation of Millrise effective immediately.

According to AHS, a COVID-19 outbreak at Millrise Seniors Village was initially declared at the site on April 15th, and on April 17th they brought in a health care manager to support day-to-day operations at the facility. It was not until the weekend of April 25-26 that AHS brought in an additional 20 AHS staff to support staffing levels and ensure infection control in this facility.

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This National Medical Laboratory Week, thank you is not enough

This National Medical Laboratory Week, thank you is not enough

April 27th to May 2nd is National Medical Laboratory week, and during this week Friends of Medicare joins voices across Canada in recognizing the invaluable and life-saving contributions of our country’s medical laboratory professionals. 

Now more than ever, Albertans are witnessing firsthand the direct link between the lab and their health. "In Alberta, this pandemic has shone a light on the impact that having publicly delivered and funded lab services has made in helping to flatten the curve by providing the capacity for timely and effective diagnoses for those impacted by COVID-19," says Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare. "Around the world, Alberta has led the way in the number of tests administered, thanks to the excellence of our lab professionals. Our lab, in spite of years of neglect from consecutive provincial governments, has responded admirably to this unprecedented health crisis, and will no doubt be pivotal to seeing Alberta through this crisis and beyond."

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Alberta needs to reevaluate our seniors care system

Alberta needs to reevaluate our seniors care system

More action needed to relieve continuing care pressures now & going forward

 
Yesterday, the provincial government announced that new funding would be made available for staffing of health care aides (HCAs) in continuing care facilities. While this funding is a welcome relief in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis currently facing Alberta’s continuing care sector, it is merely a half measure that does not address the root problems that have been plaguing the system for decades.
 
The $24.5 million advanced to operators will help to address immediate cost pressures caused by COVID-19, with funds intended to increase health care aide staffing levels. A wage top-up of an additional $2 per hour for health care aides will be provided, and up to 1000 paid student practicum positions will be added to fast track certification in order to get more staff into continuing care facilities. These measures are temporary and intended to last through the duration of this pandemic.
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Alberta seniors deserve better now and moving forward

Alberta seniors deserve better now & moving forward

Seniors in Continuing Care facilities now count for over half of all COVID-19 deaths in Alberta (29 of 46). As of April 13th, the number of those who tested positive in continuing care facilities was 199 and rising. There is no data yet available as to how many workers who provide care to seniors have tested positive.

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World Health Day holds extra significance today as the world deals with a global health emergency

World Health Day holds extra significance today as the world deals with a global health emergency

According to the World Health Organization, World Health Day emerged from the First Health Assembly, held in 1948. The day is celebrated annually on April 7 to raise global awareness on specific themes related to health in order to highlight an area of importance for the World Health Organization. This year, World Health Day honors the contribution of nurses and midwives, and the critical role they play in our global health care systems.

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Albertans to rally online in support of public health care: #HandsOffOurHealthCare!

April 03, 2020 7:58 AM

Albertans to rally online in support of public health care: #HandsOffOurHealthCare!

 
Today, Friends of Medicare is urging Albertans to take to social media to show our gratitude for our health care workers on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 virus, and for the public health care system on which we all rely. “We want to take this opportunity to thank all Albertans who comprise our public health care system,” 
says Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. “Albertans will be rallying together to remind our leadership that publicly funded and delivered health care is our best defense against this crisis and others like it, as this pandemic has made abundantly clear.”

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Now more than ever we must fortify & expand our public health care

March 31, 2020 1:47 PM

Now more than ever we must fortify & expand our public health care

 
The past few weeks have certainly been a difficult time for all of us, but as we look around the world and to each other, this pandemic has laid bare the importance of Canada’s universal public health care system. We have seen how vital it is that we do not allow this crisis to be used to dismantle universal, public health care in Canada. However, in Alberta we have seen our government, during one of the worst health crises we have ever faced, bully through a budget that was short-sighted, attacked public services, and set the course for the privatization of our health care.
 
“The true measure of a government's leadership will be made evident through the political choices they make as we deal with this world pandemic, and as we move forward to deal with the new political and economic reality that will face us after this is done,” says Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare.
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