Minister of Health and Social Services Julie Green issued the following statement today regarding the agreement with Alberta Health Services for Northwest Territories patients receiving services in Alberta:
“As cases of COVID-19 escalate in Alberta, it is not surprising that Northwest Territories (NWT) residents have become concerned that their required health care needs, usually addressed in Alberta, may change. I want to reassure residents that the NWT Health and Social Services system has been closely monitoring the situation in Alberta in recent weeks and days.
“As of Monday, November 16, 2020 Alberta Health Services (AHS) has advised that some elective procedures may be delayed or cancelled. The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) will continue to work with AHS and with patients to reschedule those procedures when circumstances allow. We are engaged and in close communication with our counterparts at AHS and they have assured us they will honour our longstanding agreement to provide services to NWT residents requiring care.
“The agreement allows NWT residents to be considered equally to Alberta residents in terms of prioritization and access to services, and AHS has confirmed that this relationship will continue to be honored for services provided within their facilities as we move through the evolving pandemic situation.
“The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) has recently communicated to practitioners to carefully consider all non-urgent referrals to Alberta, and have provided guidance to ensure that in all cases where virtual care is possible, that it is the preferred method rather than sending residents in person to receive care.
“If NWT residents choose not to receive services in Alberta due to COVID-19 concerns they should contact their health care provider immediately. Additionally, residents who receive any pushback from health providers in Alberta should contact their local health care provider immediately so they can help rectify the situation.
“The NWT Health and Social Services system will continue to monitor the Alberta response closely. Should the situation change, the NTHSSA will contact impacted patients directly and provide updates online for the public at www.nthssa.ca.”