The Alberta Party Caucus has proposed a different way of doing things, charting a path to financial stability, encouraging innovation in the healthcare sector, and making sure the quality of our system rises to meet the needs of Albertans. Some of these ideas include the following:
NEW DENTAL COVERAGE FOR ALBERTA FAMILIES
20% of Albertans will be affected by mental illness in their life yet Alberta only spends 6% of its health budget on Mental Health. This is only two-thirds of what expert opinion, including the Canada Mental Health Commission, recommend.
We will close this funding gap Our plan will see spending on mental health and addictions increase by $600 million annually over the next 4 years. We will provide $150 million in new annual funding immediately. We will gradually redirect $450 million in existing funding over the next 4 years. This will expand services, drive down long-term healthcare costs and save lives.
We will not just expand access to programs. We will transform the way we approach mental health in Alberta. Including:
Sustainable Health Care
The Alberta Liberals will reduce the cost of our healthcare system by spending smartly in the areas that drive down long term costs. We need to invest in continuing and preventative care.
It’s less costly to keep people healthy than it is to treat them when they’re sick. continuing care spaces are less expensive than keeping people in acute care yet we many in need of continuing care are left in acute care due to a lack of spaces.
Our plan will:
Affordable Dental Care
A lack of access to dental care isn’t just about cosmetics or even comfort and can result in serious health implications such as infections and even death. We will work towards universal dental care with our partners in confederation. We can make dental care more affordable in the interim by:
Alberta Liberals are committed to implementing best practices from across the globe to implement a 15-minute patient transfer time from ambulance to ER.
Our strategy includes:
Two Albertans die each day to opioid and other overdoses. Much more can—and must—be done to curb Alberta’s opioid crisis. We will:
People suffering from drug addiction and abuse aren’t criminals, they’re ill. Punitive action worsens the stigma around addiction and makes it harder for people to seek help. Addicts need help, not handcuffs. We support following the lead of Portugal and decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of drugs in order to better combat addiction.
The Alberta Liberals will work the Federal Government and our partners in confederation on the implementation of a national pharmacare plan that provides access to affordable drugs for all Albertans.
Health Care When You Need It
We will provide stable health care funding to meet the province’s growing population’s needs, while containing administrative and managerial costs.
We will lower wait times in emergency rooms and for cataract, heart and cancer surgeries.
We will implement new emergency room procedures to get ambulances back on the street faster.
We will build an additional 2,000 long term care and dementia beds to make sure seniors who are suffering are well cared for.
We will strengthen regulations governing private clinics to prevent doubledipping and queue jumping and will prevent any costly and reckless privatization experiments.
We will ensure appropriate operating funding for the Calgary Cancer Centre, the Edmonton South Hospital and the Red Deer Hospital expansion and build all projects.
We will pilot two storefront mental health clinics in Edmonton and Calgary to provide immediate and accessible mental health care to people experiencing a mental health crisis.
We will also continue to implement the recommendations of the Valuing Mental Health report to strengthen Alberta’s mental health system.
We will launch a lawsuit against the manufacturers of opioid medication to recoup the costs of tackling the opioid addiction crisis.
We will also expand access to addiction treatment programs so fewer Albertans are at risk of overdose.
We will expand access to reproductive health services for women living in smaller centres and rural Alberta.
We will develop online health tools, so Albertans can access health professionals remotely to address routine medical matters such as prescription refills and referrals.
Better Public Health Care for Albertans
Public Health Guarantee
• Maintain or increase health spending, and maintain a universally accessible, publicly funded health care system
Reduce Surgical Wait Times
• Reduce surgical wait times to no more than four months in four years by replicating elements of the highly successful Saskatchewan model for health care reform, the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative (SSI).
Opioid Response Strategy
• Appoint an Associate Minister for Mental Health and Addictions to make this a political priority of a future government
• Invest $40 million over 4 years to launch an Opioid Response Strategy that Alberta Strong & Free 53 expands support for opioid treatment centres to deal with wait times and increases access, including additional detox beds, mobile detox programs, and funding a new Virtual Opioid Dependency Program
• Establish a dedicated Opioid Enforcement Team within the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) to target aggressive investigation and disruption of opioid manufacturing and dealing at a cost of $10 million over four years
• Expand Drug Treatment Courts, including new ones outside of Calgary and Edmonton, with an investment of $20 million over four years
• Call on the federal government to increase resources for drug interdiction, and to restore mandatory minimum penal sentences for drug traffickers
• Ensure that provincial funding programs are determined based on evidence – including ensuring eligibility for successful faith-based models
• Work with physician groups to understand what more can be done to reduce the prescription of powerful opioid drugs that have a high incidence of addiction and ensure general practitioners have training in opioid replacement therapy
Mental Health and Addiction Strategy
• Increase earlier access to addiction and mental health services through primary care centers
• Expand home care to support those who identify addiction and mental 54 Alberta Strong & Free health as a primary concern
• Support Albertans in crisis by expanding programs to more communities including police and crisis teams, provincial family violence treatment programs, diversion programs and drug treatment courts, and by developing mental health court models
• Increase access to mental health services and reduce recidivism and use of emergency departments for those in contact with the criminal justice system
• Support First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people and communities by establishing a continuum of addiction and mental health services, ensuring service provision is not disrupted by jurisdictional disputes, and increasing access to services to manage the impact of Indian Residential Schools on mental health
Supervised Consumption Sites
• Only endorse new supervised consumption sites if there have been extensive consultations with affected communities, including residents and business owners, and if there is a robust evidence-based analysis of the socio-economic impact of a potential drug consumption site
• Only endorse new Overdose Prevention Sites if they have clear plans to provide treatment services
• Conduct evidence-based socio-economic impact of analysis of existing drug consumptions sites
• Consult with local communities, police, municipalities and others on the location of existing sites to determine if they are optimal, or if better locations could be found that would reduce the impact of crime, discarded needles, and other negative social and economic impacts on local neighbourhoods
A United Conservative government will invest $20 million over four years to:
• Continue to shift from hospital to community-based home and hospice care
• Establish and implement palliative care education, training, and standards for health professionals
• Develop effective caregiver supports to support patients in their homes and community.
• Raise public awareness of palliative care and how and when to access it.
• Expand already successful innovations in the health care system, in particular the “medical home” care model of the Crowfoot Village Family Practice. The Health Quality Council of Alberta studied ten-year outcome data from Crowfoot and found that:
• Crowfoot’s patients visited the emergency department 13% less than the Calgary average, and were admitted to hospital 17% less than the provincial average
• Crowfoot achieved same-day/next-day access for patients in the year it was reviewed (2013) 56 Alberta Strong & Free
• Crowfoot’s physicians see an average of 1,650 patients compared with the provincial average of 1,200 patients
• 20% of patient encounters were provided by multidisciplinary teams
Finding Efficiences in the System
• Conduct an Alberta Health Services Performance Review to identify administrative savings, and move that money to front-line services
• Increase the budget of the Alberta Health Quality Council (HQCA) by $1 million annually to establish more measurements and increase health care quality outcomes for patients
• Provide Albertans with increased choice of medical practitioners by increasing the number and scope of nurse practitioners in Alberta and allowing nurse practitioners the ability to bill directly to Alberta Health
• We will also expand the scope of practice of other health professionals, such as opticians and paramedics
• Lift the cap on midwifery services. Many expectant mothers would like to choose midwifery services for childbirth, but the NDP has capped access to the service. Increased midwifery services in Alberta would both reduce costs for the health care system and increase the standard of care.
• Review the Connect Care contract and My Health Care Records to reduce potential duplication of services and ensure maximum effectiveness
• Modernize paper health care cards to be combined with either driver’s licenses or provincial photo ID cards as a multi-use Personal Identification Card
• Save $200 million by stopping the NDP’s plan to buy laundry machines for AHS, by maintaining more efficient, competitive contracting for these services
• Save $640 million by cancelling the NDP’s unnecessary ‘Superlab’ and nationalization of laboratory services