Friday, March 10, 2017

The $703.2 million in funding for home care and $586 million to be earmarked for mental health services over 10 years comes after months of wrangling, as Alberta accepted a bilateral health funding deal with Ottawa, as did Quebec and Ontario Friday.------The 3.5 per cent figure was what the provinces, including Alberta, turned down during negotiations with Ottawa last December.-----------Julie Ali · University of Alberta The health minister should have made the deal with Ottawa last December. Playing political games for months resulted in no gains but has impacted families negatively. Instead of asking Ottawa for more money, the GOA should have cut costs by downsizing positions and salaries. We have too many overpaid bureaucrats and executive staff at Alberta Health, AHS and Covenant Health. We aren't getting value for the public dollars spent on these top tier employees. The federal government is asking the provincial government to use our taxpayer dollars in a directed and accountable fashion; the money for mental health services is important and long overdue. Now that the deal is done, Alberta Health should use the money provided for mental health services to improve a mental health system that is in crisis. Citizens with mental health problems are considered throwaway citizens but why is this the case? If citizens can get prompt treatment for cancer why not for a mental health issue?----

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More on the health care accord that should have been signed ages ago so that the money could go to the people who need it the most--those citizens in need of mental health services in Alberta. Now that the deal is done, will Alberta Health do it's job and help these disadvantaged citizens or will the folks at Alberta Health continue to ignore the problems?

I'm betting that the GOA will not do anything for the next few years because government doesn't have to do anything. It simply ignores problems.


http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/alberta-says-it-hoped-for-more-in-1-3-billion-health-funding-deal-with-ottawa

Alberta says it hoped for more in $1.3-billion health funding deal with Ottawa

BILL KAUFMANN

More from Bill Kaufmann

Published on: March 10, 2017 | Last Updated: March 10, 2017 5:41 PM MST

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman.

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman. LARRY WONG / POSTMEDIA NETWORK

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While welcoming a nearly $1.3 billion health care funding infusion from Ottawa, the province’s health minister said Friday it fell short of what they’d sought.

The $703.2 million in funding for home care and $586 million to be earmarked for mental health services over 10 years comes after months of wrangling, as Alberta accepted a bilateral health funding deal with Ottawa, as did Quebec and Ontario Friday.

Critics of the deals have accused Ottawa of employing a divide-and-conquer strategy by picking off the provinces individually, a process that has left Manitoba as the lone holdout.

The sums, which the minister said will ultimately reflect a 3.5-per-cent growth in projected medical spending, were welcomed by Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, but with a sense of disappointment.

“We were hoping to get the very best for the province of Alberta and we’re confident we landed on that today,” Hoffman said in Calgary on Friday.

“It isn’t the 5.2 (per cent) we asked for, to be frank … it’s still an adjustment to move from six-per-cent increases to anything lower, but I’m glad we’re getting an increase from the federal government.”

The 3.5 per cent figure was what the provinces, including Alberta, turned down during negotiations with Ottawa last December.

But Hoffman said that amount would increase with any growth in Alberta’s economy, something she’s confident will happen as the recession softens.

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Hoffman said it became clear holding out for a better offer became less realistic with the Atlantic provinces and territories coming to terms with Ottawa last year, followed by other provinces.

“Originally, we hoped for a federal agreement with all the jurisdictions,” she said.

Ottawa, she said, wanted the money to be invested in home care and mental health areas, adding the province is happy to do so.

“These were areas of priority for our government, we want to increase investment in these areas,” she said.

But the group Friends of Medicare (FOM) and their national allies called the deal the result of a divide-and-conquer strategy played by Ottawa, one that menaces the future of universal health care.

“The health care accord negotiations were supposed to be an opportunity to strengthen public health care,” said the group in a statement.

“Instead, we are seeing a funding deal that will force cuts to services and does not commit to upholding the principle of equity in public health care.”

The advocates said Alberta, which requires a 5.2-per-cent boost to sustain its system, will be backed into a funding gap it will be forced to make up out of its own pocket.

“The federal government is not just abdicating its responsibility to uphold single-tier public health care, it is threatening its future,” said Adrienne Slinicki of the Canadian Health Coalition.

But Alberta Liberal leader David Swann called the agreement “welcome relief” for the province’s health care system, adding the boost to home care will take pressure off hospitals.

“Home care can provide so much in the way of prevention and early intervention in medical problems with those with chronic diseases, like high blood pressure, diabetes — many of the common diseases that take people into emergency departments,” he said.

Hoffman noted Ottawa is also providing the province with $6 million to battle its fentanyl crisis which last year took the lives of at 343 people in Alberta.

The money will be added to provincial funds for use in treatment, substance replacement therapy and safe ingestion sites, she said.

BKaufmann@postmedia.com

Twitter/BillKaufmannjrn



Julie Ali ·
The health minister should have made the deal with Ottawa last December. Playing political games for months resulted in no gains but has impacted families negatively.

Instead of asking Ottawa for more money, the GOA should have cut costs by downsizing positions and salaries. We have too many overpaid bureaucrats and executive staff at Alberta Health, AHS and Covenant Health. We aren't getting value for the public dollars spent on these top tier employees.

The federal government is asking the provincial government to use our taxpayer dollars in a directed and accountable fashion; the money for mental health services is important and long overdue.

Now that the deal is done, Alberta Health should use the money provided for mental health services to improve a mental health system that is in crisis. Citizens with mental health problems are considered throwaway citizens but why is this the case? If citizens can get prompt treatment for cancer why not for a mental health issue?
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