Lack of information, weak enforcement let private health care clinics blur public-private line

A new report released this morning by the Parkland Institute shows how private membership health care clinics in Alberta have been blurring the lines between public and private care deliver due to a lack of information and inadequate enforcement tools to ensure they comply with the Canada Health Act.

 The report – entitled Blurred Lines, Private Membership Clinics and Public Health Care – was based on numerous Freedom of Information requests, as well as three government audits of private membership clinics conducted by Alberta Health between 2011 and 2013, the University of Alberta-based institute said in a news release today.

The analysis by researcher Rebecca Graff-McRae found a deeply flawed process that focuses on written clinic policies instead of what they actually do, a lack of transparency, and “a troubling absence” of effective enforcement.

The report concludes with six recommendations to address these shortcomings.