Expansion of Private For-Profit Care Not to be Applauded

Expansion of Private For-Profit Care Not to be Applauded

Friends of Medicare are calling on the Alberta government to change the public discourse when it comes to long-term care in Alberta in light of today's announcement highlighting the opening of a private for-profit continuing care centre approved by the previous government.

“Evidence is clear that for-profit facilities provide reduced care hours compared to their counterparts in the public sector. Experience tells us that staff face significant issues with for-profit companies like AgeCare. To top it off the public is kept in the dark with no transparency for the millions in operational funds that are handed over to these health profiteers,” said Executive Director Sandra Azocar.

AgeCare was at the centre of controversy at Medicine Hat’s Valleyview Care Centre in 2009. Approximately 60 staff who were paid as much as 30 per cent less than comparable staff at other facilities had gone on strike to receive better recognition at work. The strike lasted more than a month, prolonged by the hiring of replacement workers by AgeCare.

“Instead of press releases applauding partnerships with AgeCare, Albertans should be hearing that their government will be making good on their promise to open 2,000 public long-term care beds. The mid-election promise from the Alberta NDP was the right decision for patients, staff, and the public purse,” Azocar continued. “We are now 17 months into the mandate of this new government and we have not had one announcement about new public care beds. It’s time to do better and start working on reversing years of privatization from the previous government. While the Ministry of Health was correct to insist on more long-term care beds in the new facility, we are reminded of the words of then opposition leader Rachel Notley* “We don’t argue with the need for more spaces for seniors; we do think they should be publicly funded, publicly delivered.””

*November 19, 2014 Hansard