Friends of Medicare members Sam Denhaan

Funding formula may make health-care crisis worse

Friends of Medicare says the crisis in seniors care happening at Symphony Senior Living Aspen Ridge is only the beginning.

Friends of Medicare says the crisis in seniors care happening at Symphony Senior Living Aspen Ridge is only the beginning.

Nearly 130 licensed practical nurses, health-care aides and other staff walked off the job on Monday after contract talks failed at the seniors care facility located at 3100 22nd St. in Red Deer.

Symphony, a privately owned and operated seniors care facility, has 152 suites with 157 residents.

Last week, Symphony announced it is cancelling its contract to provide 49 care beds for Alberta Health Services, saying wage demands from Alberta Union of Provincial Employees made it an unsustainable business model.

Symphony is contracted to provide Alberta Health Services with 40 assisted-living beds for dementia patients, four assisted-living beds for non-dementia patients and five transition beds for people coming out of hospital.

Last week, the province also announced a new equitable funding model based on the specific care needs for long-term residents across the province. It means some operators may have to adjust to more or less funding.

“With this new funding formula, we’re definitely going to see a lot more of this type of profit-driven behaviour. This funding formula that this government is implementing is certainly going to leave a lot of people without the type of profit margins that they’re used to getting,” said Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare, who joined strikers on the picket line Wednesday afternoon.

Add to that the economic downturn in the province, she said.

Symphony Senior Living and the AUPE met last weekend but were unable to avoid the strike/lockout.

AUPE rejected Symphony Senior Living’s demand for the right to terminate any employee without cause.

Symphony argued it was a matter of having the ability to remove a worker for non-cause reasons such as lack of empathy, passion or dedication to seniors.

Sam Denhaan, member of Friends of Medicare, Red Deer Chapter, said AHS bears some responsibility for what’s happening at Aspen Ridge.

“They don’t want to be in the controversy, but they are in the controversy. If the deals were made without any kind of contractual obligation, that’s their fault. Quality control is part of the responsibility of Alberta Health Services,” Denhaan said on the picket line.

“Indeed, it’s part of the health minister’s responsibility.”

Previously, AHS said it is an external party to negotiations and would not comment on the job action but were monitoring care at Aspen Ridge on a daily basis.

Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas and Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski were unavailable to comment on Wednesday.

Just Posted

1,200 runners came out to Woody’s RV Marathon in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Matthew Hope ran in the Woody’s RV World Marathon for… Continue reading

Two men steal 16 year old’s car at gunpoint in Alberta

RCMP are looking for two men who allegedly produced a handgun and… Continue reading

Mother of five who died in hit and run in central Alberta a huge loss to family, police say

Rocky Mountain House RCMP continue to investigate hit and killed case on… Continue reading

‘Rope-a-dope’: Environmentalists say Alberta war room threat won’t distract them

EDMONTON — Environmental groups targeted by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney are shrugging… Continue reading

Speed, alcohol considered factors in deadly Calgary crash: police

CALGARY — The Calgary Police Service says two people are dead after… Continue reading

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of 2019

The event is held every Saturday in the Servus Arena parking lot

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Speaker stuns Morehouse grads, to pay off $40M student debt

A billionaire technology investor stunned the entire graduating class at Morehouse College… Continue reading

Unions increasingly at odds over replacing troubled Phoenix pay system

OTTAWA — The federal team charged with finding a replacement for the… Continue reading

Sisters of Ste-Anne hold unique garage sale before giving up Montreal convent

MONTREAL — The Montreal-area Sisters of Ste-Anne are hosting a unique garage… Continue reading

Canadian pilot Patrick Forseth killed in Honduras plane crash: sister

TRUJILLO, Honduras — A British Columbia woman says her pilot brother was… Continue reading

As states pass restrictive abortion laws, questions surface

ATLANTA — As multiple states pass laws banning many abortions, questions have… Continue reading

Pelosi being honoured with JFK Profile in Courage Award

BOSTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is being honoured with the 2019… Continue reading

India’s marathon national election reaches the finish line

KOLKATA, India — Voting in India’s mammoth national election ended Sunday with… Continue reading

Most Read