The government is pulling out all the stops to stabilize, strengthen and improve Alberta's primary health care system. Additional funding of $200 million over two years will improve access to family physicians and help ensure primary health care is available for every Albertan when and where they need it.
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. 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.”
Stabilization funding is an important transitional measure identified through work under the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the minister of health and the Alberta Medical Association (AMA), signed earlier this fall. The AMA has been advocating for family physicians and rural generalists through its work under the MOU. Alberta’s government will continue to engage with the AMA as it works to develop a new, sustainable physician comprehensive care model, which will also dictate how this additional funding will be distributed.
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.
These short-term actions will:
- Address key issues or pressures in the system such as doctor retention, administrative burden and inflationary costs.
- Be implemented quickly and efficiently.
- Be transitional until the new payment model is ready.
“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. 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.”
Alberta’s government is committed to finalizing a sustainable physician comprehensive care model that will address the concerns of family physicians and rural generalists and ensure Albertans can access the care they need.
“Our doctors want to provide comprehensive, lifelong care for patients and we are encouraged to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with our provincial government. The reality is family physicians and rural generalists have truly been struggling to maintain viable practices. This funding will be an essential first step to ensure doctors can continue to provide this care, as we rapidly transition to a funding model that supports fully comprehensive care."
Other recently announced supports for primary health care include:
- Ongoing base compensation for primary care physicians is expected to be $1.76 billion in the current fiscal year.
- Committing to create a primary care organization within the refocused provincial health care system to coordinate primary health care services and provide transparent provincial oversight, with the goal of ensuring every Albertan will be attached to a family physician or primary care provider.
- Investing $57 million over three years to provide family doctors and nurse practitioners with support to help manage their increasing number of patients.
- Investing $40 million over two years to support Primary Care Networks.
- Investing $12 million for the Community Information Integration and Central Patient Attachment Registry, enabling doctors and their teams to share patient information from their electronic medical record to Alberta Netcare.
- Committing to implement recommendations from the Modernizing Alberta's Primary Health Care System initiative through a phased approach.
- Creating a primary health care division within Alberta Health.
- Canada signs more than $1 billion bilateral agreement with Alberta to improve health care over three year (Dec 21, 2023)
- Strengthening health care: A collaborative effort (Oct 24, 2023)
- Strengthening health care: Improving access for all (Oct 18, 2023)