Patient-based funding does not translate into quality care for seniors and disabled Albertans

Friends of Medicare is joining health care professionals who today are standing in opposition to so-called 'patient-based funding.'  "As Canadians, we value our publicly-delivered and publicly-funded health care system, and we need to put the well-being of people and the health of our society at the forefront of our budgetary decisions," said Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare.

Patient-based funding calculates the needs of each patient and provides a standard funding amount based on the care provided.  This funding formula places different values on various medical services by creating a pricing mechanism for individual activities, creating an internal market for long-term care services. Assessments to determine patients' needs are based on universal minimum standards of care instead of taking into consideration the changing medical needs of individuals.

"With patient-based funding, different provinces are assessing services in very different ways. It begs the question, are best practices driving the assessments or are budgets?" said Azocar. "We are seeing clearly from the pilot projects run at Capital Care, Bethany Care Society, and Good Samaritan Society facilities how this funding model will result in less care for patients as we see a decrease in the number of people providing care to our seniors and disabled adults. Service cuts only lead to only one thing: less care. Seniors and disabled adults are not a commodity; their needs don't disappear or go away because the price of oil happens to be high or low," stated Azocar.

Following the provincial budget AHS announced a cut of 10% in its administrative expenses. According to their own books, last year alone AHS increased the amount of non-executive managers by 9% serving to further inflate an already top-heavy administration. "If AHS and the Minister of Health are serious about finding efficiencies while providing a quality health care system, they need to realize that cutting front-line services will not improve care," said Azocar. "Friends of Medicare is calling on the Minister of Health and AHS to closely reconsider the implementation of the patient-based funding formula now that we have seen the results."

Azocar will join front-line health care professionals today at a rally organized by the AUPE at the Good Samaritan Society Edmonton corporate office (8861 - 75 Street) from 3:30-5:30 PM.