Canadian values and the regionalization of Alberta’s health care system: an ethical analysis
KeywordsMedical policy -- Alberta
Health care reform -- Moral and ethical aspects -- Alberta
Social values -- Canada -- Public opinion
Primary care (Medicine) -- Alberta
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AbstractIn Alberta, decision-making in the health system has been devolved to seventeen Regional Health Authorities (RHAs). This thesis undertakes a broad analysis of the values that underlie this regionalization. Divided into two parts, the first half of the thesis develops a liberal egalitarian theory for the distribution of resources in society that turns on the importance of providing all people with the basic resources required to plan for, develop and achieve their life goals. Four requirements for any health system that seeks to uphold the values inherent in this theory are then articulated. These requirements include the need for the health system to be sensitive to the broader determinants of health, and the need for understanding the concepts of health and disease within the context of the social and cultural communities that the system is meant to serve. Part One concludes with an argument suggesting that expressions of Canadian values cohere with the normative theory developed. In Part Two the evolution of Alberta's regionalized healthcare system is traced. The values implicit in the regionalization of the health system in this province are then examined for their congruence with the four requirements developed in Part One. Following this, the ethical difficulties faced by RHAs are considered. The thesis culminates with thoughts on the ethical challenges Alberta's regionalized healthcare system must confront, offering recommendations for how some of these challenges may be addressed. It is concluded in the thesis that while a regionalized health system is not necessary for meeting the requirements elucidated, these standards can be met with a regionalized approach. However, at least in the case of the Alberta experience, a number of important changes would have to take place for this to occur. Among these changes is a paradigm shift in the way health and disease are understood towards a more evaluative approach; the recentralization of public health initiatives to the provincial level; and an overall change in governmental health policy recognizing that many areas of society, and consequently the policies of government agencies beyond a disease-based healthcare system, impact health and well-being.
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation