Ms McPherson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Home-care clients rely on service providers to perform daily living tasks, things like personal hygiene and medication management. I was disturbed to hear this week that a senior home-care client outside of Edmonton waited for hours for an AHS-contracted home-care provider, who didn’t show up for a scheduled appointment, to move her between her wheelchair and her bed. To the Health minister: what is being done to ensure that AHS home-care clients receive services from providers?
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health.
Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker and to the member for the question. One of the big things that we’ve done as a government is that we’ve provided stable, predictable funding to the people of this province to ensure that health care under, well, what was the Conservative cabinet minister and now the leader of that member’s party – they were proposing a $1 billion cut to health care. We reversed that. We invested in the people of this province, and we specifically increased home-care funding every single year because we want to ensure that the people of this province get the care they need close to home.
Again, with regard to a very specific situation, I’ll be happy to look into that specific instance. But, Mr. Speaker, this side of the House is investing in the people of this province and expanding home-care services.
The Speaker: Thank you, hon. minister.
Ms McPherson: Given that the home-care provider told the client that they didn’t need to provide any backup and that the client would need to find her own backup and given that after being previously stranded in her home for 13 hours in her wheelchair, this time she called a friend to drive from Edmonton to her place, almost an hour, to give her some help, how is it acceptable for AHS to allow contractors to not have contingency plans and to require home-care clients to find their own backup services?
The Speaker: The hon. minister.
Ms Hoffman: Thank you. Again, with regard to one specific case we’ll be very happy to look into that. My office is very accessible. Please call my office or e-mail my office, and we’ll be very happy to address specific concerns with specific care.
Under self-managed care clients receive funding to hire and pay for their own unmet personal care and supportive needs. We also have AHS care, and we also have AHS contracted care, Mr. Speaker. We’re proud of the fact that we’re providing these choices and options for the people of Alberta to ensure that they get the care they need instead of pushing for rash cuts that would certainly hurt all Albertans, including those who are on home care. This government is investing in the people of this province.
Ms McPherson: Given that not every home-care client lives in a community where ad hoc home-care services are available when AHS fails to provide sufficient oversight of its contractors and given that adding funding to pay for the services Albertans do not receive does not make life better, does the minister know how much of the $575 million spent on home care last year through AHS has been spent on services that were not delivered?
Ms Hoffman: Well, I can tell you that it’s a lot more than a billion-dollar cut. Mr. Speaker, I’m proud that on this side of the Housewe’re investing in health care, we’re investing in our seniors, and we’re keeping them well. We had a choice in this province. We could go down the same path that Conservative after Conservative after Conservative asked us to go down, which was deep cuts that hurt the people of this province, including our seniors. On this side of the House we were elected to stand up for the people of Alberta. I think actually many members were elected to stand up for the people of Alberta and make sure that they got the services they needed. I won’t be lectured to by somebody who is now following the lead of a leader who’s advocating for billions of dollars in cuts. That’s pretty rich.