WHEREAS the Province of Alberta has commissioned numerous ground ambulance studies in the past 13 years;AND WHEREAS costs to operate ground ambulance services have dramatically increased during this time period while compensation for services provided to provincially funded clients have not kept pace with these increases;AND WHEREAS emergency medical service is a critical and essential component of health service in Alberta;AND WHEREAS the pre-hospital care provided by emergency medical service has a direct beneficial impact on health care costs after the patient is admitted to hospital care;AND WHEREAS the pre-hospital care provided by emergency medical service has a direct beneficial impact on patient well-being and recovery;AND WHEREAS changes in the health care system in Alberta are resulting in patients with increasing acuity being intentionally and by provincial policy direction moved out of institutional care and into community-based programs, with a resulting heavy reliance on emergency medical services; AND WHEREAS emergency medical service in Alberta is provided by local operators, and is either authorized by or provided by local governments; AND WHEREAS the Ambulance Services Act provides that Basic Life Support (BLS) emergency medical service is the minimum standard for emergency medical service in the province of Alberta;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta to provide full funding to emergency medical service providers for the delivery of BLS emergency medical services throughout Alberta.
Historically, Alberta municipalities, who have the authority to establish ambulance services and the level of services they provide, have attempted to provide an ambulance service for their residents through many different funding models. Each funding model has its own merits and is a unique solution for the respective municipality. Presently there are 42 different funding models being used in Alberta. There are 450 ground ambulances located in 140 communities throughout Alberta.With escalating costs to provide ground ambulance services, municipalities are forced to reconsider funding arrangements, in some cases decreasing or eliminating the service provided. Much of the increasing cost of providing ground ambulance service can be attributed to policy changes implemented and demanded by the province. These additional costs increase the strain on an already overburdened municipal tax base.The province, at a considerable cost to the taxpayers, has generated report after report studying the provision of ambulance services. To date, no constructive changes have been implemented. The most recent report, compiled by Harvey Cenaiko, MLA for Calgary Buffalo, suggests a portion of the Alberta health care premium could be directed to support funding for ambulance services. This report called Patient-Focused Emergency Medical Services, was released in draft form May 24, 2002 and to date has not yet been accepted as final.Emergency medical service (ground ambulance service) has, in recent years, evolved from being purely the emergency transporting of patients to health care facilities into pre-hospital medical care. It is part of the overall delivery of health care services.Emergency medical service in Alberta is governed and provided at the local level by municipal government, private not-for-profit organizations or, in some cases, by regional but essentially local providers.The costs of ground ambulance service are escalating because of decisions made within and about the health care system. Municipalities and local providers have differing abilities to fund the services, with the result that there is a declining capability to underwrite the service.However, the provision of health care in Alberta is a provincial responsibility. It is not the responsibility of the current providers of ground ambulance service. BLS emergency medical service is a critical and essential component of the health care system, and must be acknowledged, and adequately and properly funded as such.Therefore the Government of Alberta should fund the minimum level of emergency medical service required.