Citizens have a right to health information

It is not often that we the Central Alberta Council on Aging (CACA) agree with the Fraser Institute and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

It is not often that we the Central Alberta Council on Aging (CACA) agree with the Fraser Institute and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Recent press releases indicated their dissatisfaction with the refusal of Alberta Health and Wellness to release meaningful information about quality indicators at individual hospital and health facilities.

We agree because we, too, are dissatisfied with the accountability and transparency of our ever-changing health-care system

Our CACA health committee has on many occasions requested information on cost per patient data in the two remaining publicly owned and operated nursing homes in our community (Red Deer and Valley Park Nursing Homes).

Only last week we repeated our request to the executives of the former David Thompson Health Region (now called the Central Zone). Our numerous requests are received, sometimes discussed but never directly addressed in a written reply.

The Central Alberta Council on Aging wants to know what Alberta citizens are paying today for publicly operated services, and what the Alberta government will be paying (on their behalf) to private corporations when the two nursing homes are eliminated.

As taxpayers, we want to know what the government’s downloading (and the shifting to private-for-profit insurance and care corporations) is costing us now and for future generations

The reason why we seek this information is because of the continued reference by various ministers of the Crown to the unsustainability of seniors’ programs.

This needs to be challenged, especially when the discontinuation of universality and the down loading of costs to individuals are threatened.

The public needs to be able to determine the cost of the privatization of elder care, now and in the future. There has been no information provided to the taxpayers about this, and no public debate on this important issue

Now that Health Minister Ron Liepert and Dr. Stephen Duckett, CEO of Alberta Health Services, are setting out to centralize control, to contain and to reduce budgets, and to reduce services and capital investment in health care, Albertans need to know the effects of this new direction on services needed by them.

The rush to privatization may be caused by a tired government unwilling and unable to look after our interest, finding it more convenient to shift responsibility to corporations who hide behind “Corporate Competition Privacy Concerns.”

We are asking the minister and MLAs about our taxes and how they are investing them in our health-care system. We would like to know why large grants are given to private organizations. We want to know how the benefits to Albertans are accounted for.

When private-for-profit corporations are contracted to provide essential care and accommodation services, we need to know if there is equity in their charges, the funding they receive, and if we get value for money.

Former Premier Don Getty arranged for health-care statements to be sent to Albertans on a quarterly basis. This gave citizens an opportunity to see and check what was paid to doctors and specialist on their behalf.

This was very helpful for patients to appreciate the cost and respect the wonderful people who serve us. Why can’t there be similar transparency now about seniors’ care?

We will continue to ask our MLAs to assist us in our request for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 budget and expenditure information for our existing publicly owned and operated nursing homes.

It is public money they are spending. Citizens have a right to know.

Sam Denhaan


Central Alberta Council on Aging

Just Posted

Red Deer’s crisis line workers are busy dealing with multiple emergencies

Callers need everything from mental health counselling to their basic needs met

Restaurant Brands International announces executive changes and raises dividend

TORONTO — Restaurant Brands International Inc. raised its dividend as it announced… Continue reading

Puck and player tracking gets TV test at All-Star Weekend

Twenty-three years after Fox’s glowing puck made its debut, the NHL’s next… Continue reading

Some Alberta minor hockey players getting heat for Indigenous locker room dance

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — The Fort McMurray Minor Hockey Association has apologized… Continue reading

Not a fly-over province: Trudeau making frequent stops in Saskatchewan

LA LOCHE, Sask. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to visit… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Arrest made in case of incapacitated woman who gave birth

A 36-year-old nurse has been arrested and charged with sexual assault

Edmonton Oilers fire general manager Peter Chiarelli: reports

EDMONTON — Peter Chiarelli has been fired as general manager of the… Continue reading

Canadian Milos Raonic has Australian Open run end in quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canadian Milos Raonic is done at the Australian Open… Continue reading

$20K pay gap between women, men in Canadian tech jobs

The report defines tech workers as people either producing or making extensive use of technology, regardless of industry

Two Quebec short-film directors mark first Oscar nominations together

TORONTO — Two Quebec filmmakers celebrated in solidarity on Tuesday after learning… Continue reading

Toronto illustrator teams up with Paul McCartney on children’s book

Toronto-based illustrator Kathryn Durst says she’s found a true collaborator in Paul… Continue reading

Catholic student says he didn’t disrespect Native American

Many saw the white teenagers, who had travelled to Washington for an anti-abortion rally, appearing to mock the Native Americans

Backlund scores OT winner for Calgary Flames in 3-2 win over Carolina Hurricanes

Flames 3, Hurricanes 2 (OT) CALGARY — Mikael Backlund scored 15 seconds… Continue reading

Most Read