Local Doctor Leaving Alberta Over Concerns With Provincial Measures

A local doctor is moving her practice out of the province over concerns with the direction of healthcare in Alberta.

Dr. Melanie Young took to social media on May 15 to announce her decision to leave the Signal Medical Clinic on July 30, 2020.

“The instability surrounding both the direction of primary care delivery and physician remuneration in Alberta has forced me to assess and adapt my practice and regrettably, I will be relocating out of province,” her post read.

Mix News reached out to Dr. Young but didn’t receive a response.

The relationship with many provincial doctors and Alberta Health has taken many hits since the province adopted several changes for rules and fees.

This included capping the number of daily patient visits, changes to the billing system, capping incentives for doctors to move to the rural and remote northern communities, and more.

After much backlash from rural doctors, the province removed the cap on the Rural and Remote Northern Program, while also increasing certain fees.

“Alberta is the best place in Canada for physicians to work and we’re committed to keeping it that way, most recently by making our rural/remote/northern incentives the most generous in Canada,” said Steve Buick, Press Secretary for Health Minister Tyler Shandro, in a statement.

Laila Goodridge, MLA for Fort McMurray – Lac La Biche, echoed this comment noting Alberta doctors are paid the most in all of Canada.

In 2017 and 2018, Alberta physicians made on average over $385,000. The next closest was Manitoba around $351,000.

MLA For Fort McMurray – Wood Buffalo Tany Yao argued many doctors who choose to leave may be purposely trying to give their colleagues more incentives.

“I believe some of the physicians that might be ordinarily leaving us anyways might be using this to get their co-workers some leverage in negotiations with the province.”

Both Yao and Goodridge both noted they hope for all the best for Dr. Young but believes the community will continue to get top of the line healthcare.

According to the province, Fort McMurray added six physicians from March 31, 2018, to March 31, 2019.

Meanwhile, patients of Dr. Young with ongoing health needs are being encouraged to book an appointment as soon as possible to discuss transfers to other physicians.

“The staff of Signal Medical Clinic continue to actively recruit a replacement and remain hopeful in those pursuits,” read Young’s social media post.

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