While Alberta Health Services says the number of homecare agencies being awarded contracts is being drastically cut in the province, those changes, and others, have at least one woman with multiple sclerosis concerned.
Vicki Johnston lives with MS, and said her life depends on the assistance she gets from homecare.
“It’s vital to have people you can trust,” Johnston said.
She requires help every morning and night, to help her bathe and dress – and over the years, she said she’s built a rapport with her aide.
“I know the agency I have, will not be working in my area anymore,” Johnston said. “I will have a new agency and new caregivers which is very disturbing.”
Upcoming changes to homecare in Alberta revolve around the upcoming reduction in the number of contracts being awarded to agencies – the number will go from 72 contracts to 13.
In addition, Friends of Medicare has learned of additional cuts – the group obtained an e-mail sent by one Edmonton-based agency to employees, dated May 31, that says time allotments and compensation would change.
The change means for every scheduled service for a client will include 10 minutes of travel time – so for every 30 minute time allotment, 20 of that will be for care, for a one-hour appointment, 50 minutes would be set aside for care.
The e-mail goes on to say those changes, among others, would be implemented over the next two months.
“The fact is these contracts have been written in that way, and they’re going to be impacting direct care,” Sandra Azocar with Friends of Medicare said.
In a written statement to CTV News, AHS responded to the change:
“If a client is assessed as requiring 30 minutes of care, that client will receive 30 minutes of care…AHS is managing and monitoring travel costs to ensure that health care dollars are being spent properly.”
Johnston has put her concerns to Premier Alison Redford, she’s sent e-mails and letters over the changes to homecare – however, she says she has yet to receive a response.
Friends of Medicare will host a Town Hall meeting Sunday, June 23, at the Ironworkers Local 720 Hall at 10512 122 Street at 6:30 p.m.
With files from Carmen Leibel