Blog | June 19, 2013

But Long-term Care beds still to be cut and system changes to favour corporations

Alberta Health Services (AHS) announced last Tuesday they are cancelling the ‘first available bed’ policy and reversing the plans to give the home care contract for three supportive-living co-operatives to for-profit corporations. While this shows that public pressure is having an impact they are still giving the majority of home care contracts to corporations and are still planning to cut 1700 long-term care beds from the system.In late April, the government formalized the First Available Bed policy and set 100 km as the permissible distance seniors could be moved away from the area where their family/community supports are located. As a result of this policy, families and couples have been torn apart.“The feedback we’ve had is that just does not make sense,” AHS President Chris Eagle stated in the Edmonton Journal. “I’ve spoken to couples where one partner has been assigned to one facility and another partner has been assigned to another. Frequently, these individuals have been married for 60 or 70 years and it’s heartbreaking to hear them talk about the separation at a very vulnerable part of their lives.”According to the same article, Eagle says they are now working out a new policy for continuing-care beds, which he says will hopefully focus on getting patients into facilities near their homes.But our work is not done. Now is the time to provide your input to the Alberta government and AHS to help ensure that the new policy will protect patients and ensure services are absolutely, not hopefully, accessible near their homes. Apparently Health Minister Fred Horne nor Premier Redford did not order the decision to reverse the first available bed policy.And while three supportive-living co-operatives will remain operative, AHS still plans to consolidate most home-care services along with major ‘transformative changes’ to the health care system that favor for-profit corporations.We have heard nothing from the government which will reverse their decision to not only not build any more long-term care beds for seniors (despite their election promise to do so), but to cut LTC over the next five years.LTC beds to be cut - content/public-going-corporate-controlled-assisted-living-instead-towards-ltc-beds-promisedMore, contracts for care and facilities are being given to corporations seeking to make profits instead of guaranteeing effective care. Is it cost-effective for Albertans to be sponsoring private corporations for public services? No.Take action and join a Constituency Action Team with PIA’s Senior Task Force and put pressure on your MLA that seniors' needs be met!