Alberta Minute: AHS Outage, Insurance Rates, and Rural Physician Strategy
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature is still adjourned, but there are several committee meetings this week. The Special Standing Committee on Members’ Services will meet tomorrow at 9:30 am to discuss the 2023-2024 Legislative Assembly Budget Estimates and 2023-2026 Strategic Business Plan.
On Wednesday, at 9:00 am, there will be a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. The Committee will discuss the Fund’s second quarter report, a review of the 2022 public meeting, and the Committee’s annual report to the Legislative Assembly. The Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship will meet on Thursday at 1:00 pm to continue its review of the Conflicts of Interest Act, among other things.
- The Province is soliciting public feedback for its Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel. The Panel, chaired by Preston Manning, will review the legislation that guided Alberta’s response to COVID-19 and recommend changes to improve the handling of future public health emergencies. Albertans can submit their comments online.
Last Week In Alberta:
- The Province announced a freeze on private vehicle insurance rate increases for the rest of the year. Insurers will still be able to increase rates in the event of changes to driving record - for example, if you get a ticket, are at fault for an accident, or significantly change your coverage. Insurance companies will also be required to let most Albertans pay their premiums through payment plans. The Province says the pause on increases will provide a breather while they work on a longer-term solution for rising rates.
A network outage at AHS caused almost 200 surgeries to be postponed. Internal communication lines and access to electronic medical records were restricted. Lab services at some sites, as well as 811 access, were also reduced. Apparently, all but three surgeries have been rebooked, with most scheduled to take place in the next 30 days. A review of the cause - and the internal response - are underway.
- Health Minister Jason Copping and Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides announced $1 million in funding to explore ways to provide medical training in Grande Prairie and Lethbridge. Copping said it’s part of a longer-term strategy to reduce rural health care shortages. Evidence suggests that doctors who train in smaller communities are more likely to practice in one when they graduate.
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