Public Interest Alberta and Friends of Medicare have released a video of former Associate Minister of Seniors George VanderBurg responding to concerns raised about seniors care at a forum in Whitecourt on November 13th, 2013.
An open letter has been sent to Minister VanderBurg as well as Health Minister Fred Horne and the new Associate Minister of Seniors Dave Quest asking for clarification and for information about seniors care contracts that was promised during the presentation.
"The Minister clearly made a couple of 'misleading statements' and has trouble defending the government's seniors care policy," says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director for Public Interest Alberta. "We look forward to hearing the government's response to the comments made by the Minister on the following key points:
* The Minister denies knowing anything about the AHS capital plan that shows the government is cutting close to 1700 long-term care spaces by 2018, even though this document was tabled by the Wildrose party and reported in the media.
* The Minister contradicts himself about the clear need for more long-term care to address Alberta's growing seniors care population and needs of people to stay in their own communities.
* The Minister clearly supports the privatization of seniors care, saying there is no difference between public or private delivery of care despite just hearing the evidence from the Parkland Institute report, From Bad to Worse, that seniors receive significantly less care per day in for-profit facilities in Alberta.
* The Minister states that he has serious concerns with the "patient-based funding model" that has resulted in many care staff being laid off, yet this remains the policy of the government.
* The Minister states that the contracts with the private care providers are publicly available even though many organizations have been told they cannot see these contracts.
* The Minister does not know what happens to the millions in government subsidies if a private senior's care corporation decides to not continue with the contract or sells its real estate holdings to another company.
"We expect that Dave Quest, the new Minister of Seniors and Health Minister Fred Horne will look at the evidence presented and reverse the privatization of seniors care," says Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. "We heard far too many terrible stories from families suffering from the failure of private care during our twelve city speaking tour. This is unacceptable and cannot continue."
The last of Public Interest Alberta, Friends of Medicare and Parkland Institute's 12 forums held around Alberta will take place at the Lions Seniors Centre in Edmonton (11113 - 113 St) at 7:00 PM on Wednesday December 11th.