As B.C. residents are continuing to be denied access to healthcare in Alberta, Kootenay East and Columbia River-Revelstoke MLAs are working to try solving the issue.
Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok feels that the lack of access to healthcare out of province is a detriment to residents near the B.C./Alberta border.
“People are not getting the service that they need, they’re not getting the care that they need. Because of that lack of access to Alberta, the outcomes their medical issues are not seeing as positive as results as they should be,” said Clovechok.
Clovechok added that those seeking medical treatment in Alberta are now forced to travel farther by going to Kelowna or Vancouver instead of making a shorter trip to a hospital across provincial lines.
“We’ve had patients that, if they could get to Calgary, would have been much better in their outcomes than they are today and that’s truly unfortunate. In some cases, there have been some fatal results because of it.”
B.C. residents have been prevented from using Alberta’s health care facilities due to a controversial policy in which the provincial government’s MSP will not fund non-emergency medical treatments outside of the province.
According to Clovechok, he has spoken with Alberta’s health minister as well, who was unaware that B.C. patients were being denied from Alberta’s medical services.
Clovechok expressed his frustrations with the lack of action taken by the B.C. government, despite multiple meetings with the province’s health minister.
“Myself and MLA Shypitka have met with Adrian Dix three times in victoria and have brought this to him,” said Clovechok. “Nothing has happened, there’s been very little going on, and absolutely no solutions offered by him as a minister or his government. I’m unhappy about that and meanwhile, our patients are paying the price.”
Clovechok added that this problem isn’t unique to Columbia-River Revelstoke and Kootenay East, it exists in all ridings along the B.C./Alberta border. Five B.C. MLAs, including Clovechok and Kootenay East’s Tom Shypitka, are working together to resolve conflicts with inter-provincial healthcare access.
“What I would like to see is a see proposed, backed by policy, is a rural medical strategy,” explained Clovechok. “One strategy fits all approach doesn’t work in this province, we’re unique in rural British Columbia, and we need to be treated that way. Our people are second to no one, we should have access to service and good transportation, and we’re not getting that. That’s what we’re fighting for.”
Chovechok said access to health care is a high priority for him, and work is underway for a report to be presented to Alberta’s health ministries to work towards a possible solution.