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

Kimberley Community Band in concert

The recent concert by Kimberley Community Band featured a number of soloists.… Continue reading

Upcoming Chamber events in Kimberley

The Kimberley Chamber of Commerce is celebrating Chamber Week (Feb. 20-24) with… Continue reading

Council discusses renewing MOU with BC Timber Sales

Kimberley City Council has voted to table a discussion about a Memorandum… Continue reading

Kimberley Youth Action Network asks for City’s help in becoming legal entity

The Kimberley Youth Action Network (KYAN) is requesting that the City of… Continue reading

Friends of the Kimberley Public Library celebrate another successful year

2018 saw over 10,000 books sold to about 3000 customers.

Regional news recap

A quick recap of the top news stories this week in Cranbrook, Creston, Fernie and Kimberley.

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Columbia Valley RCMP searching for misisng person

Police ask for help in finding Elizabeth Stewart, who hasn’t contacted family since Jan. 14

East Kootenay illicit drug overdose deaths lowest in B.C.

Local expert credits harm reduction efforts; declares support for legalization of opioids

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Most Read