Alberta announces new compensation model for family doctors

Finding a family physician in Alberta can be difficult for many. Alberta’s Health Minister announced a new compensation model to incentivize family physicians to practice in the province.

By Shilpa Downton

Alberta’s Health Minister has announced a new compensation model for family physicians.

The Wednesday announcement was welcome news for the Alberta Medical Association (AMA), who have been sounding the alarm for months, saying the province’s primary care situation is in critical condition.

The details on the funding model aren’t clear, but Minister of Health Adriana LaGrange says it will help stabilize and strengthen Alberta’s primary healthcare.

“While we are still confirming all the details, we have agreed on a framework model that recognizes the unique work and rural generalist physicians,” LaGrange says. “It will be a new physician compensation model for family medicine and rural generalist physicians who are renumerated now through a fee-for-service, or other alternative physician compensation model.”

READ MORE: Comprehensive care model needed to keep doctors in Alberta: AMA

Dr. Paul Pauls, the AMA’s president, says the announcement by LaGrange couldn’t have been at a more crucial time.

“As Albertans have heard me repeatedly say over and over the past year, Alberta’s primary care system is in crisis. The family and rural generalist physicians who deliver life-long, comprehensive care, have been under crushing financial pressures,” he said.

As many as 800,000 Albertans are still without access to a family doctor.

Earlier this year, Parks shared unsettling data indicating that 91 per cent of Alberta family doctors didn’t think their family clinic could survive without a change to the funding model.

On Apr. 4, over $67 million was delivered to primary care physicians across the province to help stabilize clinics, and retain Alberta’s primary care workers.

While the details of the new compensation model come together, that new funding model is expected to roll out in the fall.

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