Thursday, March 18, 2010

A critique of Alberta's screwed up health care system.

Dear Gene, Premier Stelmach, and Members of the Legislative Assembly,
As a tax payer and a voter I wish to address Health Care Issues, have some questions I would like answered, some information and some opinions on the following concerns:

In the Edmonton Journal, there was an article Public Versus Private. I am in complete support of the public system NOT private delivery of public services. The votes of my friends and family will hinge on this.

1) Why was the special funding for bone and joint surgery at the Grande Prairie hospital not renewed?

2) Why did Edmonton residents have to drive to Westlock and St. Paul to get knee surgery done and drive home very sick for three hours one way in one situation after anaesthetic because the main earner in the family had to work the next day and couldn’t take the day off?

3) Why does it take three to four weeks to get fasting blood work done at Dynalife, a private for profit publicly funded laboratory, thus delaying surgical procedures and doctor’s visits while siphoning huge money out of our province each year?
One woman has to go from central Edmonton to St Albert. Her wait is 4 weeks. She doesn’t drive.
The system we had before was superior to this and the money stayed here.

4) Many of us paid into the public system for over 40 years with health care premiums and taxes without ever using any of it, knowing that others before us were using that system we were paying for and did not once resent it. It wouldn’t have mattered that my end of life expense to the public was only one day, I was happy with that. It was pride in my Canadian Values as a health care professional. But I also had the security of knowing that in the very last year of my life if I needed “in and out of hospital care”, it would be there for me not a sense of entitlement but rightfully earned.

Why aren’t the younger generation paying premiums and taxes that reflect ones income like we did? Will they be exempt from aging and illness in their later years? Believe me, it isn’t our generation that has a feeling of entitlement. We cared for our citizens when we didn’t need it.

5) Why are we adopting an Australian model when it is fraught with problems costing an extra $3billion of tax payer’s money? The research was done by two CEO’s from three Canadian hospitals complete with references.

6) As a tax payers and voters, do we get to see the “hidden cost” that AHS states are there in a public system?

7) What kind of protection will patients have in the event of a Cardiac arrest in a private facility? Are we going to plug up our hospitals with the easy cases leaving the difficult ones to wait for a surgeon, or a space as has been happening?

8) Who is going to insure standards of practice?
Right now, I know of 7 private for profit home care agencies, each having their own rules that the coordinator can’t have access to as it appears to be secretive. Staff brought in from other countries are low paid and are cherry picking the 15 minute jobs working for two or three agencies. I would be happy to send you the information from front line workers.

9) How could activity based funding “create a level the playing field” stated by Hughes and ensure the same discipline in both systems? when the private does 100 easy surgeries compared to those in the public hospital which are much more complex requiring more care and stay in hospital?
The numbers cannot reflect equal activity.

10) Incentives to provide “superior quality” for hospitals and physicians is undermining their professional capabilities. Perhaps we need to go back to having managers who are nursing and medical people not those who tell staff that they “have to tow the corporate line” or lose their job as some have.

11) One patient needed surgery for a problem that would have put him back to work the next day-“IF HE PAID FOR IT”. He has to wait 6 months to get it done in the public system. WHY? Don’t we want people working?

12) Who will develop policies and standards? The glossy 2020 Vision is of little help.

In closing, if Mr Hughes thinks Albertans are indifferent as to whether surgery is done in a private or public facility, I would disagree with him. Albertans don’t want to be pushed to the side by queue jumpers and have the system cost more than can be provided by the public facility.

I am tired of being told we are burdening the next generation. Please make those stats publicly available. Many of us would to be given credit for the 45 years of financial contribution to the health care system that we hadn’t used. Hopefully, I won’t use a penny but will drop dead on my porch with a margarita in my hand.
I await your genuine reply. Please feel free to forward this to your colleagues.

Sincerely.,
Darlene - Alberta Health Care Professional.
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