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PC reduction in home care services means less for patients, increased costs over long term

EDMONTON, AB (June 3, 2013):  The decision by Alberta Health Services to reduce home care providers is another example of the PC government mismanaging our health care system by targeting important front-line services, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today. 

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is set to eliminate two thirds of organizations providing personal home care in July, reducing the amount of contractors down to 10 from the current 32.  The 2011/12 annual report indicates there were 104,704 unique home care clients in Alberta, a number that is expected to increase this year. “This PC government continues to show out of touch it is with the priorities of patients and everyday Alberta families,” Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said.  “Instead of targeting the bureaucratic waste at AHS, this government is targeting home care services, services that have a direct benefit for Alberta patients and saves health dollars throughout the system.” The Wildrose believes in heavily investing in home care by redirecting budget resources to expand services. Overall health system savings can be achieved by reducing wait lists for long-term and palliative care, and freeing up much-costlier acute care beds. Investing in home care empowers seniors to continue living at home while still receiving the help they need. Wildrose Seniors Critic Kerry Towle said that targeting home care is just another example of the PC government trying to force through its failed  mantra of government knows best onto Alberta patients. “With the number of home care clients expected to increase in Alberta, reducing access and choice will only result in lower outcomes for patients and increased costs over the long-term,” Towle said.  “This government needs to stop finding ways to find savings off of patients and find the real waste throughout the bureaucracy at AHS.” The Wildrose Financial Recovery Plan calls for AHS to find savings by increasing the worker to manager ratio from 5:1 to 10:1, cutting AHS travel and hosting expenses in half and reducing the total amount spent on executive pay by 20 per cent.