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Patient care protected while lowering health spending

While protecting patient care, Budget 2015 will mark the first substantial step in 20 years to bring down Alberta’s health spending toward levels in the rest of Canada. 

Alberta Health will spend $18.9 billion on a consolidated basis in 2015-16, a reduction of $159 million or 0.8 per cent from the 2014-15 forecast. This budget marks the first time in 20 years the province has reduced overall health spending.

“Alberta’s health spending is out of line with other provinces. This budget uses a calm, reasoned approach, which will protect patient care as we cut excess spending and find efficiencies. We will work harder to improve the value Albertans receive for their tax dollars as we move health spending closer to the rest of the country.”

Stephen Mandel, Minister of Health

Reductions were determined through these principles:

  • Protecting patient and population needs;
  • Reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and inefficient spending;
  • Improving the value Albertans receive from health care spending; and
  • Making the health system more responsive and improving quality.

Health funding allocations in 2015-16 include:

  • Alberta Health Services – $13.4 billion, a decrease of $286 million or 2.1 per cent;
  • Physician compensation and development – $4.6 billion, an increase of $119 million or 2.7 per cent; and
  • Drugs and supplemental health benefits – $1.8 billion, an $8 million reduction from the forecast.

Changes in Budget 2015 include:

  • Identifying operational efficiencies by conducting benchmarking reviews through AHS at the largest acute care hospitals, as well as at AHS support services and corporate services;
  • Absorbing a significant number of wage pressures;
  • Reducing administrative costs within the department by not filling vacancies;
  • Working with the Alberta Medical Association to implement cost saving strategies while ensuring continued quality patient care, and;
  • Using $75 million in Primary Care Network accumulated surpluses to offset their operational costs for 2015-16. 

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