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The proposed amendments in Bill 65, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, Spring 2021, are part of the government’s ongoing work to update and modernize health legislation in Alberta. The proposed changes would help ensure Alberta’s health system can better serve Albertans and supports continuous improvement in a number of areas. The amendments also focus on increasing system efficiencies, adapting and responding to changing needs, and ensuring public dollars are used wisely.
“As we keep moving forward with the important work of updating health legislation, we are working closely with our valued stakeholders. This includes the Alberta College of Pharmacy, which proactively initiated the proposed pharmacy-related amendments in this bill. The provincial court judiciary also recommended amendments to better support fatality inquiries. By working together, we can ensure Albertans are better served by our health system.”
“It’s important for the Alberta government to move forward on critical recommendations that came directly from judges at fatality inquiries who have previously requested access to information from quality assurance reviews. This will help support and strengthen the work of fatality inquiries in preventing deaths, while protecting the confidentiality of medical professionals.”
“The proposed amendments will better enable the college to oversee pharmacy operations and practices in a manner that protects and serves the public interest. These respond to significant changes in pharmacy practices, ownership and operations, and provide a better framework for regulating these in a consistently changing environment.”
“Animal owners rely on pharmacy teams for prescription medications for their animals. Pharmacy teams like mine have worked with veterinarians to support animal health in rural communities for over a century. We are vital to their health and sustainability. Updating the legislation to reflect these practices is welcome news.”
Highlights of Bill 65, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, Spring 2021, include:
- Enhancing responsibility and accountability to ensure pharmacy owners, regardless of the ownership model, are accountable for the care the pharmacy provides to Albertans.
- Reducing red tape for pharmacies and supporting an evolving pharmacy environment and system.
- Enabling expanded access to pharmacy services for herd animals and clarifying that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are able to provide pharmacy services to companion animals. This would provide Albertans who raise or own herd animals with options to access pharmacy services for animals previously enabled under the Food and Drug Act prior to changes made by the federal government in 2018.
- Providing judges at fatality inquiries with access to facts and information from health system quality assurance committees to support more comprehensive reviews, discussions and effective recommendations.
- Adding a provision so when government joins an injured claimant’s lawsuit that ultimately ends up being unsuccessful, government is only responsible to pay the additional, reasonable costs related directly to recovering the cost of health services provided to the injured claimant.
- Reducing red tape and enabling late-filing penalties for auto insurers to be waived in extraordinary circumstances, such as a natural disaster, that prevent them from meeting deadlines to file reports.
Bill 65 would amend the Pharmacy and Drug Act, Health Professions Act (Pharmacy), Alberta Evidence Act and Crown’s Right of Recovery Act, as well as make minor housekeeping amendments to the Mental Health Act and Health Facilities Act.