By Karen Kleiss, Edmonton JournalPremier Alison Redford has raised the cap on seniors long-term care accommodation by five per cent.During the Tory leadership race, Redford mused about removing the cap altogether, an idea she abandoned during the spring election.*After the election, Health Minister Fred Horne and Seniors Minister George VanderBurg studiously avoided questions about whether the cap will be removed, saying only that the policy discussion is underway.In a news release issued by Horneâ��s press secretary Thursday afternoon, the government announced a fee increase of five per cent across the board.A previous version of this blog post suggested the cap was being removed, and that this amounted to a broken election promise. As it turns out, I misunderstood the press release.â��Weâ��re not removing the cap, the cap remains in place,â�� press secretary Bart Johnson told me in a phone conversation right after the release was issued. Only the fee haa been increased.The increase will raise rates by five per cent across the board:Private room â�� $58.70 per day from $55.90, a maximum increase of $2.80 per day (for a maximum monthly charge of $1,785, up from a maximum of $1,700);Semi-Private room â�� $50.80 per day from $48.40, a maximum increase of $2.40 per day (for a maximum monthly charge of $1,545, up from a maximum of $1,472); andStandard Room â�� $48.15 per day from $45.85, a maximum increase of $2.30 per day (for a maximum monthly charge of $1,465, up from a maximum of $1,395).This means, for example, that a senior living in a semi-private room will pay an additional $73 a month, or $876 a year. The total fees will increase to $18,540 annually, from $17,664.There are roughly 14,500 seniors living in long-term care in Alberta, and roughly 6,200 will pay the increased fees. The remaining 8,300 receive provincial subsidies.My colleague Elise Stolte is writing a story for tomorrowâ��s paper on the increase. In the meantime, here are some previous stories and blog posts.Redford vows to keep cap on private care for seniors (April 21, 2012)Seniors groups worried government may lift long-term care cap (Feb. 23, 2012)Will fees go up for sick, elderly Albertans? (Feb. 21, 2012)Redford calls for program review (Oct. 6, 2011)
By Karen Kleiss,Edmonton JournalThis blog post was published on September 27, 2012. Read the full post on the Edmonton Journal website.