October 26th, 2020

UCP changes hurting doctors, patients


By Letter to the Editor on April 15, 2020.

It’s important Albertans understand how the UCP is attacking our physicians and patients.

The government is not bargaining in good faith. Bill 21 allows the government to rip up any contract, at any time. The government can remove any negotiated contract at any time and allows the UCP to dictate when and where a physician works in the province.

The health minister recommends some procedures not be covered, so you may have to pay out of pocket for hernia surgery, tubal ligation or other procedures. Health Minister Tyler Shandro delisted good-faith claims, senior drivers’ medicals, some radiology imaging tests and comprehensive care plans, so less care for Albertans, and more out-of-pocket costs.

By removing complex modifiers and stipends and capping daily services, doctors will no longer be paid for certain services, so will no longer offer them. Rural docs took a more than 30-per-cent cut in on call payments.

Physician renumeration pays for the lease on their clinics, equipment, supplies and staffing. The minister removed or reduced certain hospital billing codes, so now if that doc does certain hospital visits, they will not be paid for it.

The Babylon app introduced by the UCP has major privacy flaws. The docs involved are not your family physicians, but contracted docs who may not even be in Alberta, who are being paid more per call than your family doc is. Government promotion of this private service hurts our local physicians.

Other changes caused medical liability insurance coverage to increase by tens of thousands of dollars. One example is liability insurance for delivering babies will increase $48,000. This disproportionately impacts rural Alberta, as more doctors will refuse to care for women in labour, and they will be transported to an urban centre.

The rural physician recruitment program has disappeared.

Despite UCP claims, Alberta docs only make about five per cent more than docs in other provinces. The AMA has refuted this, and their figures are validated by outside auditors.

Docs are leaving, graduate docs aren’t staying, and for the first time, Alberta has over 20 residency positions open. Docs do not want to come to Alberta to work.

Our government is dismantling our healthcare system, and it will negatively impact your care, wallet and community. I encourage everyone to read everything you can on these changes. Visit the AMA webpage, talk to your doctor, and speak out!

Annette Diemert

Foremost

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buckwheat

You had your normal, coffee group, oilmen buddy rant going until your last lines. Then the dummy came through. Neither Alaska or Norway have equalization payments. In fact Alaska cuts its citizens a cheque every year. Alberta would be much better off, such as Norway or Alaska if they did not have to share the wealth.

grinandbearit

bw: Funny comment. Norway has a differential tax rate for different regions of their country (like equalisation) and Alaskans have to pay federal income tax too.
Our equalisation payments are just taken from the Canadian taxes we pay, there is nothing in addition we have to pay called “equalisation payments”.
Part of the imbalance across regions is based upon the fact that we do not tax at a reasonable rate provincially, an expectation that goes into how much of our federal taxes come back to individual provinces (equalisation payments).
The point is, rather than build up a huge provincial investment base for truly rainy days, our previous governments spent almost all the money from fossil fuel industries in general provincial budget, rather than putting in place a typical tax structure to fund the government.

Resolute

This letter should not have been printed. It contains so much falsehoods it is litigable. Further if the writer proves to have dementia, as the letter suggests, this is a medical issue. Do not make fun of her.

grinandbearit

Since the elements of the letter seem to be in line with various reports on the situation in AB, i wonder if Resolute would take a few minutes to list out the falsehoods and sources of refutation?

Fedup Conservative

Grinandbearit Where do you get the idea Alaska pays a state tax? They don’t and their property taxes are next to nothing, while Albertans are paying the highest in Canada.

There are nine states that don’t pay any state taxes and ten that have the lowest property taxes the U.S with Alaska being the lowest.

grinandbearit

They pay federal income tax as i indicated in my comment.

Fedup Conservative

I would suggest to any of my fellow seniors who don’t understand the Equalization payments they pull up and read the following:
“TU Mirror : Questions and Misconceptions about Equalization”

It points how how Albertans have been lied to. Why are so many seniors believing it? The truth is these funds come out of our federal taxes and have nothing to do with why Alberta is is in financial ruin. This is why we are;
“Royalties down 32% Billions in Federal Revenues Lost”