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Alberta announces $200 million in funding to improve access to family physicians

Funding coming over next two years

The Government of Alberta has announced additional funding to improve access to family physicians.

On Thursday, an additional $200 million of funding, over two years, was announced to support the stabilization of family and rural generalist physician practices.

This funding is enabled through the new Canada-Alberta Health Funding Agreement with the federal government. The agreement represents a total of approximately $1.1 billion in additional health care funding over three years for shared priorities.

“We have been clear: Albertans must be able to access the primary care they need, and family physicians are critical to that care,” said Premier Danielle Smith.

“We are prepared to do the hard work necessary to close the gap between Albertans needing care and those who are able to provide it, and this is one more step forward. We will continue to work with the AMA and all our partners to ensure that our health care system is one Albertans can be proud of.”

The provincial government has identified stabilization funding as an important transitional measure through work under the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the minister of health and the Alberta Medical Association, which was signed this fall. The AMA has been advocating for family physicians and rural generalists through its work under the MOU.

In addition to work between the government and the AMA, the Comprehensive Care Task Force will, in the new year, provide a first draft of recommendations that will include additional short-term stabilization actions to help family doctors continue to practise comprehensive care and bridge the gap until a new physician comprehensive care model is developed.

“We are committed to securing primary health care as the foundation of the entire health care system, and family physicians are fundamental to our plan,” said Minister of Health Adriana LaGrange.

“I committed to work with the AMA to identify immediate measures to improve primary health care and this is exactly what we are doing through this funding. It will help stabilize the system as we transition to a new physician comprehensive care model, so Albertans can receive the health care they need and deserve.”

Dr. Paul Parks, AMA president, said Alberta’s doctors want to provide “comprehensive, lifelong care for patients.”

“The reality is family physicians and rural generalists have truly been struggling to maintain viable practices. This funding will be an essential transitional step to ensure doctors can continue to provide this care as we rapidly transition to a funding model that supports fully comprehensive care,” said Parks.

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