Alberta Health Services has confirmed that it does not pay for care for seniors who choose to live in private care homes.
Lori Sparrow, seniors health executive director for AHS Central Zone, made the statement after a recent public meeting where a Central Alberta woman was concerned that her parents were being denied self-managed care funds because they live in a private care home.
Sparrow said self-managed care funding, a program under Home Care, is available to families so they can hire a private caregiver to provide care at home.
“It’s no different than Home Care — anything that’s care-related, assistance with bathing, assistance with getting up in the morning. Anything that can be scheduled care,” Sparrow said.
About 120 people in AHS Central Zone receive self-managed care funding.
She said AHS does not provide self-managed care to residents in private facilities because care services are already in place.
“Those clients are already paying for their accommodation piece as well as already paying for care so we don’t go in and duplicate.”
She said in publicly-funded continuing care facilities, residents pay an accommodation fee which is set by Alberta Health. In private facilities they pay an accommodation fee, which has no cap, and they also pay for care.
Seniors living in private care homes do not get any funding from AHS, she said.
“If people chose to live there that’s their choice. As an Albertan, they can choose to go where they want to go in the public sector or the private sector.”
She said it’s similar to the choosing to get an MRI through the public health care system or at a private facility.
Claims that other AHS zones provide the funding sounds inaccurate because all zones follow the same provincial policy, she said.
Sparrows said she knew of only one couple in a private care home in Red Deer receiving self-manage care due to extenuating circumstances and AHS was looking into the case.