Continuing Care Act falls short

Continuing Care Act falls short

Bill 11: Continuing Care Act does nothing to improve the quality of continuing care in Alberta

The Continuing Care Act, tabled yesterday by the UCP government, is woefully lacking in any meaningful changes to improve Alberta’s continuing care system. The Bill follows the government’s Facility-Based Continuing Care Review, and consolidates 15 pieces of current legislation that oversee our continuing care system.

“The government claims they are ‘transforming continuing care,’ but this Bill leaves more questions than it answers when it comes to what’s not in it,” said Chris Gallaway, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. “There is nothing around staff-to-patient ratios, mandating minimum care hours, or improving care and working conditions. The government is still ignoring the real problems in continuing care, while leaving the potential for further privatization in the system.”

Friends of Medicare, seniors’ advocates, and seniors’ care experts have, for decades, called for meaningful action to address the problems that have long plagued our continuing care system. Yet the Alberta government has repeatedly prioritized the interests of private, for-profit care operators over those of seniors and their families. 

Previously, the government passed Bill 70: the COVID-19 Related Measures Act, ensuring continuing care operators were protected from civil liability, effectively preventing families from being able to seek answers and hold care homes responsible for the negligence of their loved ones. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve also seen them hand hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds over to private, for-profit operators with no strings attached.

“Alberta seniors deserve better, they need proper accountability, which is why Friends of Medicare continues to call for a dedicated Seniors Advocate who will stand up for them,” said Gallaway.

Over the last two years of this pandemic, seniors have continuously suffered the disproportionate impacts of the virus and poor policy decisions alike, resulting in the potentially preventable deaths of more than 1,600 continuing care residents. COVID-19 has laid bare the longstanding shortcomings in our continuing care system, and made them impossible to ignore any longer. 

“This government has continuously made it clear that they are more interested in protecting the interests of private, for-profit operators than ensuring Alberta’s seniors receive the care they need,” said Gallaway. “If we want a high-quality continuing care system that meets the needs of all Alberta seniors, we can’t keep ignoring the root of the problem: we need to remove private profit motives from the system.”

Friends of Medicare continues to be concerned about the recommendations made in the Facility-Based Continuing Care review. We will be watching closely as the regulations and standards associated with this act are rolled out. 

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