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

Radium accommodators seek ban on short term rentals

Radium council continues considering how to regulate short term rentals.

Fire claims Fairmont home

Unsuspecting owner opens door on blaze.

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

Robbery with a hammer at Invermere Dairy Queen

Robber makes off with undisclosed amount of cash.

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read