BC Health Coalition

November 23, 2010 16:25 ET

Roll back convalescent care user fees

Pressure mounts during National Medicare Week; BC Health Coalition reports on presentation made to IHA Board Wednesday

Attention: City Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor VANCOUVER, BC, MEDIA RELEASE--(Marketwire - Nov. 18, 2010) - A delegation from the BC Health Coalition made a presentation on seniors' health care issues to the Interior Health Authority (IHA) board at their meeting in Kelowna yesterday. In particular, the health coalition wanted to know the health authority's responses to hospital user fees and bed shortages.

The IHA meeting took place amid a growing province-wide public outcry over the charging of "convalescent care" fees for services previously provided to patients free of charge as required by the Canada Health Act.

"Convalescent care fees place an unnecessary burden on patients during their recovery, many of whom are likely to be elderly and suffer from chronic health conditions," says BC Health Coalition co-chair Alice Edge. "British Columbians are saying enough is enough - it is not acceptable to run our health care system on the backs of seniors."

At the meeting the BCHC learned that there are now 105 beds in the IHA region that are labeled "convalescent care" and subject to the daily fee, in addition to 52 flexible "short stay" beds that may be used as "convalescent care" beds.

"Today we heard from the health authority that people were not notified that these fees will be charged. Instead, patients learn of the fees only when they are in hospital and in need of care," says Edge.

Edge also notes that this latest user fee follows a hike in residential care rates, an increase that has affected an estimated three out of four patients in government-supported residential care.

"We reported that we're hearing from seniors that they are being encouraged to consider legal separation as an option to cope with these residential care fee hikes," says Rick Turner, co-chair of the Kamloops Health Coalition and a member of the BCHC delegation. "The IHA has an opportunity here to show leadership on these issues."

This week - National Medicare Week in Canada - over 1000 people have sent e-mails to B.C. Health Minister Kevin Falcon voicing opposition to convalescent care fees through an online campaign coordinated by the BC Health Coalition.

Concerned citizens across the province have also met with their MLAs and arranged to make presentations to other health authority boards.

"The BC Health Coalition is calling on the government to stop charging patients for convalescent care and instead cut long-term costs by fully funding home and community care services," says Edge.
/For further information: www.bchealthcoalition.ca/ IN: HEALTH, MEDIA, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Adam Lynes-Ford, Campaigner, BC Health Coalition
    Primary Phone: 604-681-7945
    Secondary Phone: 604-787-6560
    E-mail: info@bchealthcoalition.ca