Rimoka CAO says privatization of healthcare services ‘isn’t working’ – Ponoka News

Alberta Health Services announced on Jan. 13 that it will outsource retail grocery services to a number of healthcare facilities at some provincial facilities.

AHS is seeking responses from third-party retail grocery service providers that are currently provided in-house.

The affected sites are: Peter Lougheed Centre, Rockyview General Hospital, Foothills Medical Centre, Alberta Children’s Hospital and Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Calgary, and University of Alberta Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital and Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton.

“The revenue generated in grocery retail stores does not cover their operating costs, so AHS subsidizes these services with limited healthcare expenses,” said Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of AHS. “Retail food service contracting could generate $3 million per year in revenue used to support core clinical services.”

AHS expects the request-for-response process to take approximately four months.

“Throughout the process, AHS will ensure that decisions are made with quality in mind,” said Mauro Chies, vice president of Cancer Care Alberta and Clinical Support Services, in the press release.

This transition will affect approximately 240 full-time, part-time and casual workers. AHS stated that it was committed to working with these employees and their union during this process. and assumes that there will be employment opportunities with the new providers.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) responded quickly.

“While the current plan relates to hospital retail stores, AHS has made it clear that this is also a stepping stone to privatizing inpatient catering services,” AUPE Vice President Darren Graham said in a Jan. 13 press release.

Graham also chairs the union’s anti-privatization committee.

“We are witnessing the greatest threat to our healthcare system in decades – and it is being carried out during a pandemic,” he said.

“This news comes just days after the layoff notices were sent out to the laundry workers. This is clearly part of a broader, multi-fronted attack on Alberta’s public health system, which the government says will affect 11,000 jobs.

“This has nothing to do with saving money, it’s all to do with this administration’s ideological opposition to workers who have fair-paying jobs and benefits,” Graham said.

Lorne Fundytus, CAO of the Rimoka Housing Foundation, said in his experience that the privatization of health care-related services leads to lower quality services as for-profit contractors will always try to cut costs.

In his opinion, “The price is paid by the bottom line and the people who rely on this service.”

Fundytus has a background in commercial manufacturing of cleaning supplies and healthcare services. In addition to chemical manufacturing, he ran a business specializing in the sale and rental of commercial equipment to restaurants, hospitals and retirement homes in central Alberta for over 20 years.

When Red Deer Regional Hospital transitioned to private household services, there was an immediate drop in service quality and facility degradation, he said. Eventually, Fundytus said the hospital switched back to in-house cleaning.

Rimoka owns three senior living properties and manages several other government assets.

While Rimoka is licensed as supportive living accommodation and therefore falls under the healthcare umbrella, the changes do not affect them as they do not have contracts with Alberta Health Services (AHS).

However, it could ultimately affect Rimbey and Ponoka hospitals, he said.

Since Rimoka does not have AHS contracts, it is not bound by their mandates, such as B. The mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of the staff.

Other housing agencies struggling with staff shortages are considering subcontracting food or housekeeping services out of necessity, he said.

While he said he understands why some would choose this route, Rimoka doesn’t outsource services.

“My experience is that it didn’t work,” Fundytus said. “High standards must be met in healthcare.”

Rimoka receives services from Home Care and Family and Community Support Services, but they have no contracts with them. They are able to work with these services to provide their residents with their needs.

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