Dr. Swann in Question Period on Health Information Reporting – 25 May 2017

Taken from the Alberta Hansard for Thursday, May 25, 2017

Health Information Reporting

Dr. Swann: This afternoon the Auditor General is set to release a report called Better Healthcare for Albertans, which analyzes the root causes of the government’s lack of progress in specific parts of the health care system. One way to gauge the system is to look at the AHS quarterly performance reports. However, the last quarter of 2016 came out in April 2017, and this quarter’s performance is still not on the AHS website. The PCs often delayed, changed, or stopped reporting altogether when it failed to meet targets. I had hoped that the NDP would do better. To the Minister of Health: where is the report, and why the delays?

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health.

Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the question from the hon. member. I haven’t seen the report yet, but I will certainly follow up with AHS immediately and follow up with the House and with the public as soon as possible.

Dr. Swann: Well, last week, Mr. Speaker, the Métis Nation of Alberta released three new health reports detailing higher rates of injury, tobacco-related disease, and problems with Métis people accessing the health system. However, as Keith Gerein’s article points out, these studies are based on outdated information, inclu-ding one report that doesn’t have data more recent than 2009-10. Again to the Minister: given the importance of these issues what are you doing to improve the quality and availability of Métis health information to address specific concerns raised in the report?

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health.

Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Our govern-ment has committed to rebuilding the relationship with the indig-enous peoples of this land. In February of 2017 our government signed a 10-year framework agreement with the Métis Nation of Alberta, and we are very proud of that. This commitment includes working with indigenous communities, including the $300,000 that we used to develop these reports, and also providing analytical support to the community. We’re proud to work with them and not do things to them.

Dr. Swann: Mr. Speaker, late Friday afternoon, just ahead of a long weekend, Alberta Health posted the first-quarter opioid death reports, showing a 61 per cent increase over the same quarter in 2016, without so much as a comment from the minister, much less a thoughtful analysis of what’s working and what’s not working in our approach. Surely we deserve a higher degree of reporting and transparency. Will the minister commit today to establishing a predictable, monthly reporting to the public and some analysis of how the program is working? If not, why not?

Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much for the question. Mr. Speaker, we had a choice. As soon as the data was available, we chose to release it rather than holding on to that data and waiting through the whole weekend. We thought it was important to be open and public with that data, so we made it available as soon as we possibly could. In terms of availability I was actually at a press conference that afternoon where we were talking about work that we’re doing to help with truth and reconciliation as well as with missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. I’m very happy to answer questions, and if the member has some that he’d like to pose, I would be happy to continue to enter into this dialogue. We’ve been doing extensive work, and we want to be open with our data. That’s why we made it available as soon as possible.