To protect our universally accessible, publicly funded health care system, we need to take meaningful action to improve key components of our system.

As part of the consultations, the Government of Alberta has made 11 proposals to the AMA to help build a stronger and more sustainable health system while managing physician spending growth.

Proposal 4: Payments for referrals by uninsured practitioners

Non-publicly funded practitioners – such as chiropractors, audiologists and physio therapists – are currently referring patients for publicly funded Diagnostic Imaging (DI) services.

The changes do not affect these practitioners' scopes of practice, or their ability to order diagnostic imaging services. It only affects who is paying for the service.

Compensation for any referrals for diagnostic imaging will be the responsibility of the patient through third party insurance or out of pocket. The referring provider would be expected to inform the patient about potential costs of the diagnostic tests.

Practitioners working as part of AHS’ collaborative teams will be allowed to refer for diagnostic imaging as per AHS’ policies.

This approach has already been adopted by provinces like Ontario and British Columbia.

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