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Surgeries announcement poses more questions than answers

Surgeries announcement poses more questions than answers

Today Health Minister Shandro and Premier Kenney announced a $500 million investment as part of the Alberta Surgical Wait Times Initiative, and earmarked just $100 million of this amount to provide capital funding to upgrade and renovate surgical rooms and equipment and expand surgical capacity within the public system.
 
“As per the press conference, some of this $400 M will be going to the workforce plan that will see a modest increase in staffing for these additional surgical beds, however no real mention was made as to where the remainder of the funds will be allocated,” says Sandra Azocar Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. 
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Budget 2020 flatlines health care funding while cuts and privatization continue

Budget 2020 flatlines health care funding while cuts and privatization continue

Today's budget sees a flatlining of the health care budget for 2020, with a spending increase of a mere 0.3% over the next three fiscal years. A minimum of 2.9% additional funding is necessary to keep Alberta's health care spending in line with inflation and population growth each year – the spending freeze through 2023, as outlined in today's budget, will mean fewer public dollars spent in the health care system. In terms of the impact on Albertans, the spending freeze will amount to a 9% reduction in health care spending in the next three years.
 
"Regardless of the political spin, when a government is not able to provide health care to meet the needs of a growing population, it is a cut," says Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare. "As one goes down line by line through Budget 2020, what we're seeing is a decrease in most areas of the health care budget."
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Albertans for Ethical Drug Policy call on government to support supervised consumption services

Albertans for Ethical Drug Policy call on government to support supervised consumption services

EDMONTON  Albertans for Ethical Drug Policy are disheartened by the potential changes coming to supervised consumption services (SCS) in our province, and are standing in solidarity today in support of these life-saving and evidence-based services. Today, more than 25 organizations from across the province and abroad are releasing a joint statement, calling on the government to commit to supporting SCS, and the organizations that provide it.

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Friends of Medicare's response to the Throne Speech

 

Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare, made the following statement today following the Alberta government's Throne Speech:

The 2020 Throne Speech not only outlines business that the government will bring to the Legislative Assembly in the upcoming session, but also serves to direct the political discourse and narrative intended to shape and influence how we view and respond to the political challenges facing us.

When it comes to health care policy, this year’s Throne Speech provided little more than a reiteration of prior announcements already made by the government. We saw once again their commitment to cutting and privatizing throughout the sector, through reforms like the Surgical Wait Times Initiative. Again, we see that this government will be moving forward with little regard to the patients and health care providers who are already being impacted by their wayward economic policy decisions made in the name of short-term “savings.”

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APWG: Pharmacare Bill signals a positive step towards a long-awaited national, universal Pharmacare program

Alberta Pharmacare Working Group: Pharmacare Bill signals a positive step towards a long-awaited national, universal Pharmacare program

The Alberta Pharmacare Working Group (APWG) is encouraged by the tabling of Bill C-213, An act to enact the Canada Pharmacare Act. This private member’s bill, introduced by Peter Julian, MP for New Westminster-Burnaby, proposes the framework for the implementation of a national pharmacare program modeled after the Canada Health Act, and founded in the principles of public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility.

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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

January 31, 2020 2:55 PM

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

January 27, 2020 11:23 AM

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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