Your monthly update from the BC Health Coalition

State of BC Health r1 BC Health

Your May 2023 monthly update from the
BC Health Coalition


Five questions we are asking after the Medical Services Commission and Telus Health reach an agreement

In April, the Medical Services Commission (MSC) reached an agreement with Telus over its LifePlus plan. The commission initially issued an injunction against the company in December of 2022. The MSC alleged that Telus Health was unlawfully extra-billing patients for services covered under MSP through the LifePlus plan. The MSC has now dropped the injunction and says Telus is in compliance. Going forward, Telus will no longer be able to charge patients a subscription fee for services covered under MSP. But despite the recent Telus agreement, questions remain as private for-profit health care continues to encroach on our public health care system from multiple avenues across BC. Read... our five questions HERE.


Email Your MLA: Long-term care needs a long-term fix

Seniors in B.C's care homes have not been getting the care they deserve. The pandemic revealed that our long-term care system is fragile and under strain. The former B.C. government cut, privatized, and reduced regulations in care homes, undermining the working and caring conditions. Seniors and workers are paying the price. The result has been not enough staff, not enough time, and not enough care for our loved ones. Today B.C.'s government has committed and started to fix long-term care and assisted living. It has hired more workers but there is more that we can do. Show your support for better seniors care by emailing your MLA and help turn the government's commitment to action. Take action HERE.


Failing to Deliver: The Alberta Surgical Initiative and Declining Surgical Capacity.

The Parkland Institute recently released a report on the Alberta Surgical Initiative, authored by Andrew Longhurst. In the report, Longhurst shows that the initiative, which outsources publicly funded surgeries to for-profit facilities, has diverted resources away from public hospitals and failed to increase provincial surgical activity from pre-pandemic levels. Surgical outsourcing comes at the expense of public hospitals and undermines efforts to reduce surgical wait times over the long term, especially for patients requiring complex surgeries only performed in the public system. The expansion of this for-profit sector invites a greater risk of two-tier health care through unlawful patient fees contrary to provincial and federal legislation. "Alberta has now among the worst performance in reducing surgical wait times in Canada,” says Longhurst. The report recommends that the provincial government shift away from private surgical delivery and fully commit to public system improvement. Read more HERE.


Action for Reform of Residential Care Association (ARRC)

This month we are highlighting the work of one of our member organizations, the Action for Reform of Residential Care Association. ARRC is dedicated to promoting quality of life for residents in long term care facilities in British Columbia through education and advocacy. As an association made of up care provider, clinicians, researchers, family members, and other citizens concerned with the care provided in long-term care facilities, their goal is a long-term care system where residents are supported to live their lives as fully and joyfully as possible.

On May 16th, ARRC and the BC Association of Social Workers launched an online letter-writing campaign available to all British Columbians demanding that the BC government take action to improve the lives of seniors living in long-term care. You can sign the letter yourself and let Health Minister Adrian Dix, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health for Seniors and the Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors Services and LTC, and your MLA know you support reform.

“Short staffing in residential care facilities results in diminished quality of life for residents with both staff and families left feeling powerless to change things,” said ARRC Chair Penny MacCourt. “Government’s efforts to address issues have been piecemeal and new national standards are at best only guidelines.” The campaign will be running until the end of August. Please take a minute to sign the letter HERE and share it with your networks.

ARRC called for a non-partisan, multi-sectoral advisory forum in 2021 and proposed that the government bring together care providers, families, and people with lived/living experience to develop a comprehensive provincial action plan to reform LTC by addressing long standing systemic issues identified in the ARRC report.

Currently, ARRC has 60 BC organizations with well over 350,000 individual members. You can easily join ARRC as an individual via their website HERE. If you are an organization, you can join as an organization by contacting ARRC Chair Penny MacCourt, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Public Health News, Updates & Resources

The Early Edition with Stephen Quinn: Medical Services Commission, Telus Health settle dispute over fees for care Health policy researcher and expert, Andrew Longhurst, spoke on CBC radio about the agreement between Medical Services Commission (MSC) and Telus Health. He discusses the initial injunction filed by MSC, the lack of transparency around the details of the agreement, and the drain of public resources to private delivery that will only increase wait times.

Workers in BC are Being Sent to Mandatory Abstinence Programs Run by Private Companies in Order to Receive Disability Benefits Interviewed in this article is Usman Mushtaq, Coordinator at BC Health Coalition, on how a reliance on private, for profit recovery programs for workers is using taxpayer money without any accountability. Drug policy in the province should be regulated and accountable to the province and the public, and determine treatment options on a case by case basis.

Critics denounce 'zombie' push for private health care as Quebec data shows higher costs Recent data shows that the Quebec government has paid significantly more for certain procedures completed in private clinics compared to those done through the public system. Experts highlight the evidence that clearly shows that private delivery is not cheaper or faster than public delivery.

Manitoba inking 3 more deals with private providers for out-of-province surgeries One of the private providers they signed with is Cambie Surgery Centre, owned by Brian Day in BC. Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada announced it wouldn't hear Day's appeal challenging B.C.'s limits on private insurance and extra billing. The Manitoba Health Coalition objects to all out-of-province contracts.

Eyes on Ontario after BC slams door on for-profit plasma collection Last month, BC announced that it did not intend to allow a private entity, Grifols, to establish commercial collection of plasma sites in B.C. Advocates for Canada’s safe and voluntary blood supply are now focussing their attention on the Ontario government.

Rural B.C. cancer patients decry inequities in health-care access B.C. announced that it will be sending cancer patients to the U.S. to address the backlog in radiation treatments. However, patients living in northern B.C. say they feel left behind as they continue to face inequities in health-care access, while drying up their savings to be able to reach necessary health services.

Province announces plans for new cancer centre in Nanaimo Cancer patients on Vancouver Island are currently required to travel to Victoria or B.C.'s Lower Mainland for radiation therapy. B.C. Premier David Eby and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced an approval for a new cancer centre in Nanaimo.

BC Rural Centre: Keeping it Rural Conference From June 1-2, 2023, the BC Rural Centre is organizing and hosting an international rural development conference that profiles successful and innovative rural development initiatives.

There’s a Better Way to Deliver Primary Health Care Community health centres (CHCs) use a multi-disciplinary team approach to provide comprehensive, accessible, affordable, and culturally appropriate services. This model not only works for patients as the services reflect the need and priorities for the community, but can also address the issues of burnout and stress for providers and doctor shortages through the model of collaborative teams.

Donate now

Donations by cheque can be made out to BC Health Coalition and mailed to BC Health Coalition 302-3102 Main Street Vancouver BC V5T 3G7. Or you can give monthly by cheque.

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British Columbia Health Coalition
3102 Main St, 302, Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories, BC V5T 3G7, Canada
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