Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, Alberta. Wikipedia photo.

B.C. patients running into Alberta health care roadblocks

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka says Calgary facilities are seeing increased referrals from Kootenays

A growing number of health care patients in communities in the southeast corner of the province are having trouble accessing health care services in Alberta.

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka said his office has been inundated with constituent concerns about access to health care services in Alberta and that the volume has increased over the last year or so.

Shypitka says the province of Alberta has been moving non-emergency and elective surgeries for B.C. patients to Kelowna and elsewhere for roughly the last year, however, those referrals have intensified over the last six months.

“Now, we’re getting this kind of complaint all the time,” Shypitka said.

The Kootenay East MLA says he has been working with provincial health minister Adrian Dix behind the scenes to solve problems on a case-by-case basis.

Shypitka says he is in talks with Dix trying to identify why British Columbians are having trouble getting surgery and other health care services in Alberta, which is potentially linked to financial compensation between the two governments.

“In my opinion, I think it’s a billing issue, where health authorities in Alberta aren’t getting direct payment from the province of British Columbia, from B.C. residents,” he said. “So instead of it going directly to the health authority, these payments go to Alberta as a whole, and then those payments get trickled down or allocated back to the health authority not necessarily always 100 per cent.”

Shypitka urges any local patients running into roadblocks for health care in Alberta to contact his constituency office with their testimonials.

The Cranbrook Townsman has reached out to the B.C. Ministry of Health, however, a response to the issue has yet to be returned.

According to a memo from the Interior Health Authority, Shypitka says Calgary cardiac surgery services has experienced an unprecedented increase in the number of cardiac surgery referrals.

As a result, Interior Health was informed that Calgary will not be able to offer non-immediately threatening open heart procedures to patients from southeastern British Columbia, continued Shypitka.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) says care was provided to 9,440 out-of-province patients last year.

According to a statement from a Alberta government spokesperson, a policy guideline is in the works that will support AHS doctors and clinicians about accepting out-of-province patients seeking elective procedures at Alberta hospitals.

Those guidelines are in early stages of development and will be piloted in specific regions and clinical areas.

Just Posted

Know It All: Kimberley Cranbrook entertainment guide

Key City Theatre Gallery The next exhibition will be “Prelude to We… Continue reading

WildSafeBC finds garbage left out overnight, reminds residents to be bear aware

WildSafeBC is again reminding Kimberley residents to be bear aware with their… Continue reading

Wildsight joins provincial coalition to fix B.C. mining laws

Submitted More than 30 organizations from across the province joined together in… Continue reading

Kimberley RCMP replace Mrs. Watson’s stolen flower basket

She had received the basket as a Mother’s Day gift before it was stolen.

Sullivan Mine and Railway Historical Society accepts BC Heritage Award

The society won the award for Outstanding Distinguished Service.

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Most Read