Provincial and Federal Commitments to Care Improvements

October 2020… The Health Coalition of Alberta is working in partnership with Dementia Network Calgary to bring forward concerns Albertans have with continuing care. During a recent meeting with Health Minister Tyler Shandro, we provided input on ways home care and respite care can be reinstated. We also discussed:

  • Requirements for re-opening adult day programs (ADP)
  • Re-assigning ADP staff to provide in-home respite
  • Changes to the self-managed care program, including removing barriers in access
  • Hiring family members to provide care
  • Easing restrictions on the type of support provided.

During the meeting Minister Shandro informed us that:

  • Continuing care was not a formal part of the UCP’s election platform but he is committed to change
  • Continuing care review has evolved to capture the overall system models, looking at the spectrum of care rather than silos
  • A separate review is underway for home care
  • Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) John Cabral is committed to examining some of the roadblocks in accessing self-managed care
  • Timelines for re-opening of ADPs in other settings are not yet in place
  • After raising the Edmonton Invoicing Model to create more flexibility in the system for home care and caregiver support, Minister Shandro indicated that they are looking at ways to improve this model and expand it to different zones.

Lastly, we received an invitation to work with Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) John Cabral to provide input on both reviews and palliative care.

I want to extend my thanks to Dementia Network Calgary for leading this work. We have made great progress and will continue our partnership to ensure patients and families have a voice! If you have any input for all aspects of continuing care as well as palliative care, please contact me as I will be sending Alberta Health feedback on behalf of HCA.

Federal Speech from the Throne:
I watched the Throne Speech online in September and have summarized some of the commitments that impact healthcare. Key takeaways include:

  1. The federal government remains committed to a national, universal pharmacare program and will accelerate steps to achieve this including:
  • a rare-disease strategy for high-cost drugs
  • a national formulary to keep drug prices low
  • working with provinces and territories willing to move forward without delay

However, the following was not mentioned:

  • Canadian Drug Agency
  • National pharmacare as a single payer plan.

The provinces remain non-committal to national pharmacare or, like Alberta, have just said no. The Premiers asked for more funding before the Throne Speech, but these were ignored. This will mostly be a feature in 2021’s Health Accord re-negotiation.

  1. Creation of national standards for long-term care that include adjusting the criminal code to enforce better care.
  2. “Targeted measures” for personal support workers (e.g., health care aides in Alberta).
  3. Support to expand capacity to deliver virtual care in Canada.

The Health Coalition will monitor how all of these commitments are met in the coming months and continue to provide updates to our members.