Monday, March 20, 2017

-The health ministry’s latest budget features a $57-million cut to acute care services, while funding for home and community care is set to rise $200 million to more than $2 billion.---------Statistics show Alberta is one of Canada’s biggest per-capita spenders on health care, largely due to a heavy reliance on care delivered through the hospital.-----------“The key here is that we must reorient our health system with the (right) social infrastructure,” said Kathryn Todd, vice-president of research, innovation and analytics for Alberta Health Services. Reducing costs by rebalancing the system from acute care to community care has been a talking point for the last several years among Alberta health leaders, but progress has been slower than some hoped. For the current 2016-17 fiscal year, the province had budgeted $3.7 billion for acute care, but is currently on track to spend nearly $4 billion.-----------Home care as a solution to the high costs of health care won't work but it is a drum for the provincial health minister to pound upon. I note that Ms. Hoffman is always in the public eye when money is being given out and when there is a feel good story about. When the sad news of opioid fatalities are bruited about we have the Brandy Payne woman to tell us the Payneful details. So here is the health minister with the usual Alberta Health spin of saving us major bucks with this home care plan. She is joined by the federal health minister who is also saying it will work to save the citizens major bucks. Both of them are wrong. It is merely window dressing to encourage us to believe that the house of health is occupied. It is not occupied.---

#GOASPIN#WindowDressing--It is heart warming to see these stories of seniors helped at home but this is all window dressing by the provincial and federal health ministers. The use of home care placebo to treat the illness of an inadequately funded continuing care system is a poor matter indeed.
We can't efficiently or cheaply service seniors at home and it is foolish of both the provincial and federal health ministers to go about trying to tell the public that home care will not only save the acute care system major costs but also keep seniors at home -thereby alleviating the need for continuing care placements.
Home care will help some seniors stay in their homes longer but it cannot be done as well as the servicing of groups of people in a well funded continuing care system in the public sector. The funding of such a public continuing care system is being ignored with all the spin about the home care plan.
What plan is there? When my family was using home care we had a disorganised service with poorly trained workers, who were often different coming to the house and who were sometimes unfamiliar of the care plan. Sometimes you wonder at the government of Alberta. How are such workers in private companies going to provide quality care to families all over Alberta? Isn't this incredibly inefficient and more costly than simply providing group care in public facilities with good oversight?
But there you go. Folks will have to experience the messes to get the spin aspect of this story.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says her government will be pushing hard this year on a major health system transformation that will see more people treated at home…
EDMONTONJOURNAL.COM
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http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/alberta-health-minister-hopes-to-transform-system-with-big-investment-in-home-care
The health ministry’s latest budget features a $57-million cut to acute care services, while funding for home and community care is set to rise $200 million to more than $2 billion.

Hmm... this is curious. So how is the transfer of money and then addition of more money to the home and the community going to give us the services we need for our seniors?
I don't know.
It's mysterious.

At least it is mysterious to me.  When our family used home care, the services were delivered by a company that had various folks working for it and sometimes it was hard for them to figure out what had to be done for my handicapped sister. It was difficult to have a new person come in every time. The folks who come to your home are strangers and my parents found it hard to let them in. Then they don't sometimes know the care plan. It got to be more work for me to organise the folks who came to the house than to do the work myself. In the end we gave up on home care and we went the long term care route with the results that you all know.

What is needed is not the spin of this story but the real life stories of families who have experienced all these various forms of care--home care, long term care, supportive living care.  Luckily I have experienced all these forms of care so I can yap and tell you how good they are. Home care might work if the private company has its act together and does not have staff turnover of a major sort. Home care might work if the senior or handicapped citizen has minor care needs. Home care might work if the staff are well trained, professional and can interpret a care plan. It's difficult to get used to a new person at every shift.  It's also hard when they do not show up.  

Home care will not work for folks with complex care needs. For these folks we need public long term care and public supportive living facilities.  I only say public because usually in the public sites we don't have eviction and such like going on.  Usually if the private sector continuing care organisation evicts-the person who is evicted will end up in an AHS run facility so this tells you that such junk is tolerated by the government of Alberta because they want the private companies to be happy. Instead of having the continuing care sector governed by the Residential Tenancies Act these places are exempt and free to do what they want and AHS just comes up with the spin to yap to the media and the government of Alberta in their meetings of spin.

Home care as a solution to the high costs of health care won't work but it is a drum for the provincial health minister to pound upon. I note that Ms. Hoffman is always  in the public eye when money is being given out and when there is a feel good story about. When the sad news of opioid fatalities are bruited about we have the Brandy Payne woman to tell us the Payneful details.

So here is the health minister with the usual Alberta Health spin of saving us major bucks with this home care plan. She is joined by the federal health minister who is also saying it will work to save the citizens major bucks. Both of them are wrong. It is merely window dressing to encourage us to believe that the house of health is occupied. It is not occupied.

Home care funding is a diversion from the real problem of continuing care funding which neither of the health ministers are willing to talk about  because major bucks are involved. Continuing care needs to be talked about and since both of these women are silent let me speak for them.

We have a baby boomer population that is aging and eventually will become the very old folks. They will need help. Then there are dementia cases increasing. These two groups of folks need continuing care facilities. They cannot be serviced at home. The home care plan will not provide for the needs of the very old and those with dementia.  The health ministers all need to tackle these problems. Handing over the problem to the Chinese venture capatalists in the form of Anbang deals is not a good thing. But of course folks will have to find out for themselves. Government -no matter the happy stories they tell us aren't going to be taking care of seniors. They are only going to be pretending to do this. 


http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/alberta-health-minister-hopes-to-transform-system-with-big-investment-in-home-care

Alberta health minister hopes to transform system with big investment in home care

Published on: March 20, 2017 | Last Updated: March 20, 2017 5:30 PM MDT
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NDP invest in Healthcare
Minister of Health, Sarah Hoffman addresses how the government will improve life for Albertans whose independence is limited by physical or mental conditions, in the home of home care recipient, Jaye Fredrickson.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says her government will be pushing hard this year on a major health system transformation that will see more people treated at home or in community settings than an expensive hospital bed.
The health ministry’s latest budget features a $57-million cut to acute care services, while funding for home and community care is set to rise $200 million to more than $2 billion.
A portion of the increase is funding from the federal government, which recently reached a transfer deal with Alberta to provide $703 million over 10 years for home care.
“Instead of living their lives in a hospital bed, people can stay in their homes and neighbourhoods, with dignity and independence and the security of familiar surroundings,” Hoffman said at a news conference Monday.
While improving lives is one of the goals, the move is also a key part of the province’s strategy to make the health system more efficient. As the theory goes, if more people are treated at home or in community facilities, that should relieve pressure on overcrowded hospitals.
Statistics show Alberta is one of Canada’s biggest per-capita spenders on health care, largely due to a heavy reliance on care delivered through the hospital.
“The key here is that we must reorient our health system with the (right) social infrastructure,” said Kathryn Todd, vice-president of research, innovation and analytics for Alberta Health Services.
Reducing costs by rebalancing the system from acute care to community care has been a talking point for the last several years among Alberta health leaders, but progress has been slower than some hoped.
For the current 2016-17 fiscal year, the province had budgeted $3.7 billion for acute care, but is currently on track to spend nearly $4 billion.
Monday’s news conference was held in the Ramsay Heights house of Jaye Fredrickson, who receives home care to cope with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Fredrickson said she was diagnosed in 2008. Home care initially allowed her to continue her vice-president job at NorQuest College, but the condition eventually worsened to the point where she needed help with most daily tasks, including feeding, dressing and turning over in bed at night.
Fredrickson, 66, said there was the option of moving to a care facility, but she and her husband wanted to stay home.
“For us, (home care) has really meant that we can continue to have what some days feels like a normal life,” she said. “It’s really important to us to be able to stay at home, next to our neighbours, with our son, and being able to keep the family together. And it keeps me healthier.”
Much of the home care in Edmonton is provided by private companies such as CBI Health Group and Bayshore, along with a number of non-profit agencies.
It is unclear if the province plans to continue with this model once the contracts expire in March next year, or whether AHS will take over a larger share of providing care. All of the contracts have extension options.
The NDP government has taken steps to minimize the role of private providers in other areas of the health system, including laboratory and linen services.
“I don’t think there are any specific plans right now,” Todd said. “However we move forward is going to be in partnership with a lot of community providers.”
The number of home-care recipients in Alberta has increased about 20 per cent in the last six years from 97,000 to 116,000. That number is expected to grow in coming years as more of the province’s population become senior citizens.
kgerein@postmedia.com
twitter.com/keithgerein


Julie Ali · 
It is curious that the both the provincial health minister and the federal health minister as well believe that home care is a solution to the high costs of health care. I don't see how having folks being serviced at home will reduce the costs of hospital services. I mean there is a limit to the sort of care that can be provided at home and some services are only possible at hospitals.

Home care is not the solution to the problems of increased care demands of seniors. I mean think about it folks. You have folks running around from house to house trying to provide medical services to individual homes. This is not cost effective and will only work if the providers are well organized, don't have too difficult a job to do and have care plans that they can follow.

In contrast, in a well funded long term care system you would have groups of people receiving the specialised care that some seniors will need. The money should be going to the continuing care system in a public format. By having the long term care facilities and other continuing care facilities in the public sector you avoid the junk that sometimes happens in the private continuing care system. The public system usually does not evict, may sometimes ban but certainly is more restrained at taking legal action against citizens. I haven't heard of the public system suing folks yet but these forms of retribution occur in the private continuing care system.

While it is nice that money is going to the home care sector, it's not -in my opinion going to work for the major numbers of dementia cases or the complex care cases that are not well served in the system currently. How will home care serve these citizens? Or will we have families at home helping the home care folks to do the work of taking care of their family members with dementia?

If the government of Alberta is really interested in efficiency I would suggest that they have only one health authority in Alberta and this would save us a ton of cash as well. We would not have duplication of administrative services, we would get rid of one set of executive staff and certainly we would find that service delivery would be made standardised according to one set of bureaucratic rules (AHS rather than AHS plus Covenant Health).

The home care system that will be funded by us will be a boon to private companies who will focus on the profit aspect rather than the care aspect. The provincial government folks will provide the private sector with all the money they can shovel at this sector. The privatisation of the continuing care sector has been ongoing since the time of the PCs; we have ASLI grants that are given to real estate developers who take care of seniors as a side job. Why are we paying for these assets of private companies? Government does not want to do this work. Similarly, government will hand over home care to the private sector so it can do what it does best, which is act as a bank and hand out money via contracts. Oversight of home care like the oversight of continuing care will be lax and flexible.

But of course, unless you have family in the continuing care system or using home care (which for the most part was rather erratic when my family used it) you don't have any idea of the difficulties of this sector. It is nice to have this spin about staying home and such like made possible by our tax dollars but the reality is that there isn't enough money for seniors either at home or in the continuing care system and government doesn't care.
LikeReplyJust nowEdited
Hannah Woods · 
Don't you think you should maybe try and lose some weight Ms Hoffman? It's ironic how you can call yourself a health minister. Set an example for Albertans if you're really serious about your job.
LikeReply22 hrs
Tara Demers · 
She is a Minister of Health. She didn't apply to be a personal trainer!

Her weight, has no bearing on her ability to be an effective health minister.

How about we stop judging people on their looks and assuming they can't do good work. Balancing a budget and implementing health related programs doesn't require a body builder ... it requires brains; which she obviously has.
LikeReply62 hrs
Corey M. O'Brien
all the brains of a sewer rat.
LikeReply12 hrs
Hannah Woods · 
Tara Demers Balancing a budget???? LOL!! Yes, it should matter what her weight is, how is she setting any kind of an example for people to at least try to be healthy.
LikeReply2 hrs
Tara Demers · 
Weight has no relevance.
LikeReply31 hr
Dean S Astill
Resign Hoffman
LikeReply11 hr
Greg Chang · 
The only irony here is your ignorance of what the Minister of Health does. Your prejudice and personal attack disgusts me and I hope many others as well. I hope you never hold office as you are the perfect example of what Albertans should not be.
LikeReply356 mins
Hannah Woods · 
Greg Chang Who's forcing you to read it? She's a tubsicle and has absolutely no experience on running such a big department. She need to lose weight, simple as that.
LikeReply52 mins
Tara Demers · 
I just have to ask, why does she 'need to lose weight?' How does HER weight play a role? How does HER weight factor into YOUR life? How do YOU get to dictate what she 'needs' to do?

I'm actually very confused by the obsession you hold regarding her weight.
LikeReply145 mins
Hannah Woods · 
Tara Demers She's 300 LB plus and calls her self a health minister.....seriously, can you not see the irony here? She's a social worker, not a health minister. She's not qualified. Come to think of it, as it turns out, none of the NDP are qualified for the job of running Alberta. Well, that's unless it's running it into the ground and then they're doing a bang up job.
LikeReply38 mins
Gwen MacNeill
Hannah Woods you are very rude and rather ignorant of The health minister's previous portfolios and good work.
LikeReply237 mins
Bob Spornitz · 
The toughest decision she has made in her life is whether to have 2 or 3 orders of poutine for breakfast. She surely does not have the experience to run by far the largest portfolio in government.
LikeReply11 hr
Gwen MacNeill
Finally home care is being brought forward. Good work Minister Hoffman!
LikeReply152 mins
De Beauchamp
Resign Sarah Hoffmann!

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