Thursday, 13 June 2013

Guest blogger Nic Good: Stop cuts. NOW!

Fred Horne,
Minister of Health
Government of Alberta

Dear Sir:
I would first like to commend you on a job well done. Your decision to fire the entire AHS board was an excellent one. With your position as health minister comes great power. It is up to you to choose how you direct that power. The AHS board deserve nothing less for defying your recommendation to withhold the bonuses, especially amid all the cutbacks and deficit reduction that you are placing on the backs of persons with disabilities. I am a person with a disability and you are putting in place a plan that will greatly influence my quality of life in a negative way.

You and the premier Alison Redford have stood at the podium and repeated time and time again that the quality of care we will receive after giving the contracts to a for-profit agency will remain at the same standard and high level that I am receiving right now. You have said that we should trust you in this changeover. You have said that the well-being of the people receiving the care is your utmost concern. Please explain to me how the following situation is possible.

Revera is the for-profit agency that is taking over the contract for care at Abby Road. The very first day that Revera was on site to announce their scope of work they said that they will provide the service of warming up meals; however they do not do meal preparation. The Abby Road agency did meal preparation AND heating. Explain to me then how this is not a reduction in the quality of care? How is this possible when you have stated over and over the quality of care will remain the same? On the first day the agency taking over announces their scope of work to be inadequate compared to the previous agency! On the first day!

Are you kidding me?! There are only going to be more shortfalls. There will only be a growing number of persons with disabilities receiving inadequate care with your new system. Here is another situation that requires a decision to be made by someone with immense power. That person is you. I strongly encourage you to fix this before it even gets started. I strongly encourage you to make an exception for Abby Road, Art Space, and Creekside. Renew their five-year contracts, let them keep their existing caregiver agency, let them remain fully in control of their care. You have the authority to allow these people to continue living with the caregivers of their choosing! Any reduction in quality of care has an equal affect of reducing quality of life. Please stop this change now!


Nic Good

From guest blogger Brenda Currey Lewis: wheeling backwards

 Brenda Currey-Lewis:
I am outraged at the cutbacks being forcefully changed for the worse, for disabled persons. Just imagine the Redford government being hailed for maintaining one of the best, open-minded set-up in the country for disabled people living their lives the most independently and most successful as they can.  Making their lives as close to normal while still not being extravagant. Well, that can no longer be on her record.
Is that the problem? Do you think disabled people are taking advantage of the set-up in place to being independent are using and abusing the system? Think about it!! God forbid you or someone you love having a life changing accident or debilitating disorder that can show up no matter what the age, having to be in the system. Striped of abilities they once had, a schedule they had control over, coming and going as they see fit, the opportunity to hold down a good job, enjoying a good social life, all being thrown away. Now having to eat at a pre-set time, get out and in to bed at a pre-set time, have to be set a time to eat everyday or else going without. It’s happened in other situations. Would you be content with them living in a nursing home or perhaps you would quit your job to look after that special someone or vice-versa? Wouldn’t you want that person to enter the system with the opportunity to have control over as much as their life as possible instead of fighting a system that do not have the best interest at heart?

I’m disabled. But fortunately do not need help getting in and out of bed every day or help with other bodily functions. But, that may be the case someday. I am still in the system and the stuff I go through and deal with on a daily basis is stressful enough without having to face the consequences of cutbacks. I have many friends who will be affected by these changes. Chills are rushing up and down my spine.  Now I hear it is not up for discussion!  Well, disabled people may be viewed as one of the weakest links in the chain, therefore an easy target for cutbacks but I’d re-think that. We have so many other things to fight for but if you would like to add to that, I think we’re up to the challenge. Ms. Redford has said to ‘trust her’, but as my good friend, Dr. Heidi Janz, has already said, trust needs to be earned first and sadly there is no foundation to build trust on anymore!

A very concerned citizen,
Brenda Currey Lewis

Put the $3.2 million from AHS bonuses back into home care

We may have found $3.2 million for Alberta Health Services to re-invest into home care. And since AHS is saying they need to cut $18 million from Home Care, according to my math, that figure could change to $14.8. Provincial health minister Fred Horne fired the entire AHS board Wednesday after they rebuffed his request not to award 99 executives with performance bonuses, totaling $3.2 million.

So we have $3.2 million that could be very easily invested back into the system. Three point two million dollars, folks! Home care users are being told by AHS their care providers are going to change because of finances. But $3.2 million could also point a different spin on this, absolutely. Imagine what $3.2 million could do in retaining some home care staff who have been working with home care users for years. Think of what $3.2 million could do to keep those long and trusted relationships going.

And we have another suggestion: since Horne fired the entire 10-member board, the same board that initiated these home care cuts, we ask the cuts be reversed. Make them null and void. Because obviously the board wasn’t doing their job.

If they can’t make them null and void, perhaps they could revise them. After all, there’s $3.2 million which could be put to very good use.