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The Alberta government is proposing new health legislation that it says would make the province’s health-care system more efficient and responsive, while supporting and protecting patients.

If passed, Bill 46 would amend the Health Professions Act (HPA), Health Information Act (HIA) and Health Facilities Act, as well as repeal the Hospital Act. 

“Alberta’s government is continuing to modernize health legislation to improve health services for Albertans,” Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro said in a news conference. “Finding efficiencies, enhancing patient safety and improving patient outcomes remain our top priorities.”

ONLINE HEALTHCARE REGISTRY

The province says Bill 46, the Health Statute Amendment Act, would make changes to the HPA that would create a centralized online registry of health professionals. 

The online registry would be a one-stop-shop for healthcare, allowing Albertans to search for a health provider in one place.

The proposed legislation would also mean amendments to the HIA that would enable wider access to the Alberta Electronic Health Record (EHR).

If passed, the new legislation would allow the medical examiner as well as out-of-province health service providers to access Albertans health records stored on the EHR.

The UCP government says while it would become easier to access to health records, the new law would also create tougher penalties for anyone who access records inappropriately.

REGULATION OF HEALTH-CARE AIDES 

Bill 46 proposes registering health-care aides under the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA). 

“We’re very pleased that as part of this legislation, health-care aides will be regulated as a separate profession within our college,” Jeanne Weis, CEO of the CLNPA said in a news release. “The change will protect Albertans by requiring health-care aides to adhere to the same regulatory standards as other health professionals in Alberta.”

“We want (health-care aides) to have a greater voice in the health system,” Shandro said in a news conference Thursday.

SEPARATE REGULATORY COLLEGES AND PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

The proposed bill would  separate regulatory colleges from professional associations, a change the government says would reduce perceived conflicts of interest. 

“This does not affect most professions because their regulatory colleges are already separate,” said Shandro.

Six of the 29 regulatory colleges in Alberta are not already separate.  

Bill 46 would allow for the amalgamation of some smaller colleges, meaning multiple professions would be regulated within a regulatory college, if they choose.

The new bill would also mean the health minister, rather than the lieutenant governor, would approve professional regulations.

“This would enable colleges and government to make changes faster, to be more responsive to changing needs and more responsive to priorities,” said Shandro.