Minister vows changes on out-of-country health claims

Alberta Health Minister Ron Liepert supports the Alberta Ombudsman’s recommendations to improve quality and fairness of decisions made by the Out-of-Country Health Services Committee and Appeal Panel.

Alberta Health Minister Ron Liepert supports the Alberta Ombudsman’s recommendations to improve quality and fairness of decisions made by the Out-of-Country Health Services Committee and Appeal Panel.

The minister met with ombudsman Gord Button on July 20, after the minister missed a July 10 deadline to respond to Button’s report Prescriptions for Fairness.

“It was a very positive meeting,” said Glen Resler, director of corporate services with the ombudsman.

“For all the recommendations, there wasn’t any disagreement on any of them. Some will require regulatory changes and the minister has agreed to champion that process.”

Button’s report is based on an investigation announced last December after applicants were denied funding by the committee or panel without a clear explanation as to what evidence was considered and what criteria were used.

In many cases, the committee and panel determined services were available within Canada, but did not explain how they reached that conclusion, including what is considered a reasonable wait time for health services in question.

Resler didn’t know whether more Albertans would be compensated for out-of-country health care once the recommendations are implemented.

“That we can’t answer. But if they were rejected, they would know why it was rejected. Or if they’re told that the services are available locally, provincially or in Canada, they will get more specific information on where that can be obtained.”

Recommendations include:

• After a hearing has taken place, applicants should receive complete disclosure of the decision, including the findings of fact and how the evidence was weighed in the hearing.

• Physicians and dentists should complete and submit applications for funding on behalf of Albertans, with supporting documentation from specialists.

• Improving the accountability and transparency of the Out-of-Country Health Services Committee, the Out-of-Country Appeal Panel and the Department of Health and Wellness.

• Improving training for the review bodies.

• The appeal panel should re-hear four cases because of issues of administrative unfairness identified during individual investigations. This recommendation is not new. The ombudsman previously asked the appeal panel to re-hear these cases and those requests were denied.

Two of the four cases involve Red Deer residents — a mother who took her twin toddlers to Chicago for help with their severe sleeping disorder in 2005 and a woman who had lung cancer surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in 2003.

The ombudsman has given Liepert until Sept. 3 to implement the recommendations or have a plan to implement them.

The appeal panel members met to discuss the recommendation to rehear the four cases on Wednesday. The ombudsman expects their decision in early August and he will respond to the decision later in the month.

Just Posted

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

Time for a central Albertan in cabinet, says chamber of commerce

Central Alberta had no cabinet ministers in last government

Trump Russia probe finally delivers some answers

WASHINGTON — After nearly two years of waiting, America is getting some… Continue reading

Trans Mountain Pipeline deadline extended

OTTAWA — The federal government is delaying a decision on the Trans… Continue reading

WATCH video of Innisfail resident creating the world’s biggest caricature

Watch as Innisfail resident Dean Foster creates the world’s biggest caricature of… Continue reading

CRA’s automatic benefit registrations give retirees reason to file on time

TORONTO — This is the time of year when procrastinators begin to… Continue reading

Study: Genetic test predicts middle-aged obesity risk

NEW YORK — Can a genetic test identify newborns at risk of… Continue reading

Downtown Red Deer Co-op Plaza Food store closing

Central Alberta Co-op is closing its downtown Red Deer Plaza food store… Continue reading

Earth, meet Polo: Ralph Lauren unveils plastic bottle shirt

NEW YORK — Earth, meet Polo. Polo Ralph Lauren on Thursday launched… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in February

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in… Continue reading

Inflation rises 1.9% on higher prices for fresh vegetables, mortgage costs

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation was up last month as price pressures… Continue reading

Netflix adds 9.6M subscribers in 1Q as competition heats up

SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix kicked off the year with the biggest subscriber… Continue reading

Liberals find anti-Trudeau sentiment on campaign trail in Prince Edward Island

OTTAWA — When voters in Prince Edward Island go to the polls… Continue reading

Most Read