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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 26, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta Calgary mayor raps hospital financing By JIM MAYBIE Herald Staff Writer CALGARY - Mayor Rod Sykee of Calgary took strong exception here Wednesday to the province's proposed method of financing hospitals. "It's ridiculous that Calgary and Edmonton taxpayers have to pay for regional facilities," he said. Calgary and Edmonton are by far the largest centres for facilities and doctors. People from throughout southern Alberta use the hospitals and services in both centres. Under the province's proposed scheme, the provincial Virtue outlines change in policy Lethbridge lawyer Charles Virtue, president of AHA and a member of the Lethbridge Municipal Hospital board, expressed his views on the subject as a trustee.  In the past the province has paid all costs of operating hospitals with the exception of about %1 million yearly which it has held back in an attempt to keep a rein on expenditures. The government is no longer going to do that. It will no longer guarantee the cost of operating hospitals. It is going to provide a grant for operating costs below the budget. Taxpayers in the contributing municipalities are going to pay the rest. The change in control is as significant as the financial change, he said. Boards used to control and run hospitals. They used to relate on a one- to-one basis . with the deputy minister of health. There are no longer going to be autonomous boards. Hospitals will have a board of management, which is under the thumb of regional inspectors, who report to district boards which make requisitions for all hosptals in the district and which receives advice from advisory planning councils which will be responsible for over-all planning for hospitals in the region. And then near the top will be the hospital and finance commissioners and the Hospital Services Commission chairman and commission. And finally, if a hospital can get through all the intermediaries,. there may be a chance of getting to the health minister. "It's going to be a long way to the top now." government will contribute about 90 per cent of hospital budgets with taxpayers in the hospital district providing the remainder. A regional tax base should be used to pay for regional services, Mayor Sykea said, not the taxpayers in the community in which the hospital is located. All Albertans who use the Calgary and Edmonton facilities should pay their share. Moneys should more properly come from income taxes or resources. Funding should not be based on property taxes, he said. Financing of hospitals would be improved "if the province would recognize and accept hospital deficits because then we'd get SO per cent of those deficits back from the federal government." Costs in the medical care field are up more acutely in the last five yean than any-thing else except education, he said with a subtle inference that government involvement was largely responsible. In past years, when hospitals were privately operated, largely by religious groups, people didn't go to the hospital unless they had to. Federal and provincial government policies are responsible for creating the demand for facilities and services which exist today. And this demand has come in an inflationary period, which proves costly. The federal and provincial governments have each established their own bureaucracies which are poorly co-ordinated, he said. They are not entirely trustive of each other. Efforts should be more co-ordinated, he said. Mayor Sykes told the 200 persons attending the ninth annual hospital trustees institute sponsored by the Alberta Hospitals Association, that "the hospital board that thinks it's controlling the hospital is living in another world. Control is by the provincial government and because it is beyond local resources, there is no practical local control over health services," he said. "We're helpless but we can philosophize." Theme of speeches at the first of the three-day convention in the Palliser Hotel, was "changing philosophy of financing hospitals." Government views given Murray Ross, executive director of AHA, took the government's side of changing philosophy due to the sudden illness late Tuesday of Health Minister James Henderson, who was scheduled to speak. He reviewed the history of hospital financing and the fact that under provincial regulations, hospitals had nowhere to turn but to the provincial government for financial help. Hospital costs have continued to increase but provincial revenue was not keeping up. The general public has been taking hospital services for granted, unaware of the increased costs because they didn't directly affect the individual's pocket-book. The government feels the general public should be made aware of the costs and have some control over the level of service provided. The new method of financing, with direct taxpayer participation, is designed to accomplish that. The new system doesn't necessarily mean higher taxes, Mr. Ross said. As Mr. Henderson previously indicated, it's Just a matter of who is going to collect from the taxpayer - the province or the municipality? Hospital boards will now be focusing their attention on the municipality rather than the provincial government. Municipalities will question the needs of the hospitals and ask for explanations and justification of expenditures. A member of the audience suggested that hospitals, their boards and municipalities should give the new scheme a try before running it down. NATHAN COHEN Canadian critic dies TORONTO (CP) - Nathan Cohen, 47, writer, broadcaster and theatre critic of the Toronto Star, died early today of a heart attack. He recently had heart surgery to correct a circulatory ailment. Mr. Cohen had cancelled his television program, Fighting Words, because his health could not take the burden of simultaneous newspaper, radio and television work. AGT, part of Trans-Canada Telephone System At AGT your dimes buy more then conversation Last year, to keep Alberta's 650,000 telephones ringing we spent over 100 million dollars. That's about $13 a month per telephone, or 2Vi times your monthly phone rental fee. Last year we paid more than 46 million dollars to 6,700 pretty important people. Our employees. They in turn spent a lion's share of that money right here in Alberta. Last year our 890 vehicles used over a million gallons of gas. We ordered everything from pens, pencils and paper to giant-sized buildings right here in Alberta. We even paid over two million dollars in property taxes. What does it all mean to you? Well, every time you spend even a dime with AGT, someone else benefits. Because, when we spend money in Alberta, or when our employees spend money in Alberta, other Albertans are on the receiving end. And that helps keep Alberta's economy rolling ahead. AT AGT YOUR DIMES DO BUY MORE THAN CONVERSATION AGTT alberta government telephones BEAT INFLATION . . . SHOP Prices effective until closing Saturday, March 27th TABLE RITE RED BRAND ROUND STEAK CANADA CHOICE BEEF 41 d ROYAL ROCK GRADE "B" OR GRADE UTILITY Turkey 16-22 ib. avg............ TOP VALU Orange Juice ^z �,, 5 for 1M PLUMROSE CANNED PICNICS 16-oz. TIN SPRING PACK CHOICE Peas ......... 14 fl. oz. tins 6 iw 100 Icing Sugar....... .... 2-lb. pkg. 29* GOODNESS ME RED Kidney Beans 14 fl. oz. tins 5 for 1 "B" UPTONS Ch. Noodle Soup E 4*1* ALBERTA ^ TOP VALU BEANS and PORK 14-fl. oz. tins - 6 MONARCH POUCH PAK Cake Mixes 9.,. Pkg, 6 1,0� MAXWELL HOUSE Coffee ..... 1 -lb. bag 89* TOP VALU Margarine Colored......1 -lb. pkg. 25* CANADA NO. 1 MEDIUM COOKING ONIONS SWEET JUICY Oranges 6-!b. bag 1.00 WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO LIMIT QUANTITIES ;