There's no room for profit & privatization in our seniors’ care
On May 4th Alberta Health Services (AHS) quietly announced that AgeCare was retained to operate Millrise Seniors Village in Calgary. AgeCare Health Services was tasked with overseeing the management and operation of Millrise effective immediately.
According to AHS, a COVID-19 outbreak at Millrise Seniors Village was initially declared at the site on April 15th, and on April 17th they brought in a health care manager to support day-to-day operations at the facility. It was not until the weekend of April 25-26 that AHS brought in an additional 20 AHS staff to support staffing levels and ensure infection control in this facility.
The failures that we are seeing highlighted in our continuing care system are a direct result of the decades of privatization and the perpetual cost-cutting that seniors and their families have had to endure in this province. Despite this, AHS and this government are seeking ever more private solutions. “Rather than following the example of other jurisdictions like Spain, Italy, and BC, which have each made moves to bring their seniors’ care under the public umbrella, they have instead opted to appoint AgeCare, a private company that has received millions of public tax dollars to build facilities and which in turn has profited massively at the expense of Alberta’s seniors and their families,” states Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare.
“The toll this pandemic has taken on our seniors should have been a wake up call as to the failure of our seniors care system. We cannot, and must not aim for a return to normal because in Alberta’s continuing care system, normal is simply not working,” continues Azocar. “We clearly need to do better, yet what we are seeing is AHS and this government irresponsibly trying to return to the same way of doing business. It’s unacceptable.”
We urge Albertans to contact their MLA’s, the Minister of Health, and the Premier, and let them know that we cannot sit back and allow our loved ones to be turned into commodities. This health care crisis has made it devastatingly clear: there is no room for profit or privatization in the care of our seniors.
Linked: A brief history of Alberta’s seniors’ care & AgeCare