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Alberta's seniors continue to suffer at the expense of corporate profit

Alberta's seniors continue to suffer at the expense of corporate profit

 
Yesterday, CBC’s investigative unit, Go Public, 
released a story that showcases the painful reality facing our current elder care system, revealing that an Alberta continuing care facility, Extendicare Athabasca, has been alleged to have rationed diapers, leaving incontinent residents in medical duress.

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Unilaterally ripping up doctors agreements will leave Albertans paying more out of pocket

Unilaterally ripping up doctors' agreement will leave Albertans paying more out of pocket

Today, Minister Shandro announced that his government would be terminating the current contract between the Alberta government and the Alberta Medical Association (AMA), and, as per the MacKinnon Report, using “legislative options” to make changes to physician compensation. No mention was made as to the resulting delisting of services from the Schedule of Medical Benefits (SOMB), which lists everything that physicians and health practitioners are able to bill for.

“As we have seen over the years, anytime services are delisted, the costs are passed down to patients,” says Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare.

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FOM's response to the AHS review

Friends of Medicare response to the release of the EY AHS performance review

 
With the release of the much-awaited performance review of Alberta Health Services (AHS), Albertans will have to wait until May 2020 to fully understand the real life consequences that the recommendations will have on Albertans.

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Alberta Government bent on privatization, rather than the public good

Alberta Government bent on privatization, rather than the public good

 
Alberta Health Services (AHS) released a Request for Expression of Interest today for surgical services in Alberta. The request follows a government announcement of a new initiative to contract out surgical services.
 
“’Contracting out’ is a euphemism that proponents of privatization use often to obscure the processes that governments use to pave the way for privatization,” stated Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. “It is a way of putting a public good in the hands of the private sector, whose desire to increase profits always negatively impacts patient needs and safety.”
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Elder care in Alberta should not be an industry

Elder care in Alberta should not be an industry

 
Yesterday’s
media report on the death of an Alberta senior residing in a for-profit seniors’ facility served as a harrowing example of the real life consequences of the political ideology and short-sighted policy decisions that have shaped Alberta’s continuing care system. “Alberta’s continuing care system is an area that has seen aggressive privatization that has resulted in serious consequences for our seniors,” says Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “We have turned our elder care system into an industry that treats residents as consumers, rather than people deserving of timely and quality care.”

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Government setting the stage for the closure and possible relocation of existing supervised consumption Services

Government setting the stage for the closure and possible relocation of existing supervised consumption services

As reported in the media todayPremier Jason Kenney is already setting the stage for what could be the closure or relocation of Supervised Consumption Services (SCS) in Alberta. While the Supervised Consumption Services Review Committee was tasked with reporting to the government by the end of 2019, their report has yet to be publicly released.
 
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Surgical wait time initiative announcements leave Albertans with more questions than answers

Surgical wait time initiative announcements leave Albertans with more questions than answers

 
In a press conference this morning, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the government’s plan to reduce surgical wait times in Alberta. The minister confirmed that the planning for the surgical initiative was informed by the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative (which
ultimately failed to solve wait-time issues in Saskatchewan) but was unable to clarify the lessons that this government is taking from its failure.
 
Despite the effort with which Minister Shandro tried to mask the true underlying ideology of the initiative – namely privatization – the true intent was clear. What’s worse is that today’s announcement came with no monetary figures, no timelines, and no details. “Just as we’ve seen with previous conservative governments, the minister is once again asking Albertans to accept major changes to their health care system on faith alone, without revealing any of the details as to how this will affect costs or the quality of care to patients,” says Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare.
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Black Friday announcements signal dark days ahead for public health care

Black Friday announcements signal dark days ahead for public health care

 
Announcements made on Black Friday of the loss of well over 5,100 front-line health care jobs highlights the deep disdain for public services that our current government holds.
 
“These announcements were a clear move away from the collectivism that drives our social programs, a move away from the caring and compassion that is necessary to advance our society. It was a reiteration of a commitment to an endless quest to privatize our needed public services,” states Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare.
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Cuts to front-line staff is not the solution to balancing the budget and it is not what Albertans voted for

November 29, 2019 1:38 PM

Cuts to front-line staff is not the solution to balancing the budget and it is not what Albertans voted for

 
On Friday morning, Albertans learned that 500 front-line Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses will lose their jobs over the next three years. The United Nurses of Alberta estimate this loss of staff will equate to more than a million fewer hours of care for patients.
 
“In an already overstretched system, this attempt to save money by eliminating front-line staff can only be seen as nonsensical,” stated Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare.
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Bill 207 puts personal beliefs of health care providers ahead of professional obligations to patients

November 16, 2019 9:30 AM

Bill 207 puts personal beliefs of health care providers ahead of professional obligations to patients

 
Bill 207: Conscience Rights (Health Care Providers) Protection Act was introduced by Peace River MLA Dan Williams on November 7. After passing first reading, Bill 207 was referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members Public Bills. On November 18th, this committee — comprised of 4 NDP and 7 UCP MLAs —will meet to determine if this bill has the merits to proceed for fulsome debate in the legislature.
 
This bill is a veiled attack on access to legal health care services such as abortion, gender affirming care, and Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). If passed, Bill 207 will create major delays and barriers to people accessing medically necessary services in a province where access is already very difficult.
 
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