EDMONTON, AB (July 22, 2013): Health Minister Fred Horne needs to stop the centralization and consolidation of home care services full stop after his most recent half measure of restoring only some of the contracts, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
Alberta Health Services announced in June it was centralizing home care services by reducing the number of providers in Calgary and Edmonton. After opposition from patients, families and providers concerned about lower quality of care and less patient choice, Horne has backpedaled from his centralization plan in Edmonton by telling operators who had lost their contract that they will now be offered new deals to provide the services. However, the change will only apply to congregate living facilities. Wildrose Seniors Critic Kerry Towle said this latest move is nothing more than a half measure and is another example of the PC government mismanaging important services to vulnerable Albertans. “Once again, this PC government has put patients and families under stress by pushing through bad policy,” Towle said. “Horne and AHS need to scrap the centralization process altogether to put patients first and bring back stability to home care services.” Horne has indicated the move to consolidate services would save $18 million, but Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said the government should be looking for savings from an overpaid health bureaucracy and not patients and front line services. “Over the long term these types of decisions by AHS cause costs to rise as we see quality of care for patients decline,” Forsyth said. “We need to reduce the costs at the top. This means cutting things like AHS travel and hosting expenses, and the outrageous compensation paid out to under-performing executives year after year.”