Alberta aims to put more resources into home care
March 22, 2017
EDMONTON – The Alberta health ministry’s latest budget has funding for home and community care jumping by $200 million to more than $2 billion. It’s all in a bid to reduce pressure on hospitals while enabling those who prefer care in the home to receive it.
A portion of the increase is funding from the federal government, which recently reached a transfer deal with Alberta to provide $703 million over 10 years for home care.
“The key here is that we must reorient our health system with the (right) social infrastructure,” said Kathryn Todd (pictured), vice-president of research, innovation and analytics for Alberta Health Services.
Reducing costs by rebalancing the system from acute care to community care has been a talking point for the last several years among Alberta health leaders, but progress has been slower than some hoped.
Statistics show Alberta is one of Canada’s biggest per-capita spenders on healthcare, largely due to a heavy reliance on care delivered through the hospital.
For the current 2016-17 fiscal year, the province had budgeted $3.7 billion for acute care, but is currently on track to spend nearly $4 billion.
But the province is trying to shift resources into the community. “Instead of living their lives in a hospital bed, people can stay in their homes and neighbourhoods, with dignity and independence and the security of familiar surroundings,” said health minister Sarah Hoffman.