Modernizing Alberta's Primary Health Care System (MAPS)

Identifying immediate and long-term improvements to strengthen Alberta’s primary health care system.

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Modernizing Alberta's Primary Health Care System

Overview

The Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System initiative has been established to strengthen primary health care in Alberta and ensure all Albertans have access to timely, appropriate primary health care services.

Primary health care is the first point of contact Albertans have with the health system, and includes health professionals such as family doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.

This work engaged Alberta primary health care leaders, along with national and global experts, to identify immediate and long-term improvements that can build on the many primary health care successes in Alberta.

Status

Advisory panels' work on the modernization of Alberta's primary health care system is complete. Read the final reports 

Who is listening

Ministry of Health

Actions we're taking

Recommendations in the MAPS final panel reports will be government’s guideposts for action to create more access to primary health care. Several are moving forward immediately, prior to longer term improvements that will refocus the system on community-based primary health care.

Immediate actions to address urgent issues and give Albertans more access to family doctors and the health professionals they need include:

  • creating a task force, by working with the Alberta Medical Association, to recommend:
    • a new payment model for family physicians that encourages comprehensive primary care – where a patient has a regular family doctor who they develop a long-term relationship with and who works with them to ensure all their health care needs are met
    • supports for family physicians to provide comprehensive primary care
    • ways to reduce the administrative workload for providers so they can spend more time with their patients
    • other short-term stabilization measures
  • allocating $57 million over 3 years to provide family doctors and nurse practitioners with support to help manage costs related to their increasing number of patients. Each provider has the potential to receive up to $10,000 annually
  • implementing a nurse practitioner compensation model for nurse practitioners to practice autonomously, bringing greater capacity into the system and helping more Albertans with their health care needs
  • expanding online mental health services, allowing doctors to bill for virtual mental health checks and therapy, and compensating them for extra time spent with patients virtually
  • ensuring doctors get paid if patients can’t prove insurance coverage, which will reduce their administrative burden (known as 'good faith' claims)
  • implementing Indigenous initiatives to address racism and other barriers that Indigenous peoples experience when accessing primary health care, including:
    • establishing a $20 million Indigenous Innovation Fund to invest in innovative primary health care services designed and delivered by Indigenous communities
    • creating an Indigenous Patient Complaints Investigator
    • forming an Elders Roster to guide Indigenous peoples throughout the complaints process
    • establishing a community-based Indigenous patient navigator program to support Indigenous peoples throughout their health care journey
    • creating an Indigenous Health Division within Alberta Health

Final reports

The Strategic Advisory Panel final report contains 11 recommendations to refocus the system around primary health care with an emphasis on:

  • access to team-based care
  • integration between primary health care and community care
  • a foundation of a coordinated and accountable primary health care system

Strategic Advisory Panel final report 

The Indigenous Advisory Panel final report contains 22 recommendations under 5 themes:

  • improve health equity for Indigenous Peoples
  • address Indigenous racism in health care
  • build culturally safer primary health care and an Indigenous workforce
  • create system innovation and support community capacity
  • Indigenous ownership, stewardship, design and delivery of health care services

Indigenous Advisory Panel final report 

Active engagements

We will continue to work with partners, including Indigenous communities, on implementation of these immediate priorities and the broader MAPS recommendations through targeted engagement.

Outcomes so far

The advisory panels have finished their work and submitted their reports with recommendations to modernize Alberta's primary health care system, helping to ensure all Albertans have access to timely, appropriate primary health care services.

Learn more about the panels' work:

Following recommendations from the panels, we moved forward with historical funding commitments in February 2023 that include early investments to strengthen the primary health care system:

Opportunities for investments from the February recommendations:

  • will begin to address some of the long-standing challenges faced by all Albertans, including Indigenous peoples when trying to access primary health care in Alberta
  • were informed by extensive engagement activities, including innovation forums

Innovation forum participants included panel members, stakeholders and people involved in primary health care. Participants discussed solutions to current barriers and explored international and national innovations.

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