Province unveils new funding for family doctors

Physician and patient. Image via
Physician and patient. Image via

The Alberta Government is unveiling details of its recent plan to help stabilize primary care.

The province says family doctors will soon receive additional money to help manage their growing workload. The newly announced Panel Management Support Program will be administered by the Alberta Medical Association.

“This funding will help family practitioners manage their growing number of patients and is another way we’re taking action to stabilize and strengthen primary health care,” said Adrianna LaGrange, Minister of Health.

“We continue to collaborate with the AMA at various working tables to address challenges facing the system and to do what is necessary to make primary health care the foundation of the entire health care system.”

Payments through the program will vary depending on the number of patients within a doctor’s practice. Each primary care physician has the potential to receive up to $10,000 annually.

“This and the federal funding will, when paid out, be a down payment to help stabilize physician practices,” said Dr. Paul Parks, President of the Alberta Medical Association.

“Immediate stabilization is just the first phase, requiring additional support of practices until they can transition to a new model for funding comprehensive, lifelong care for our patients.”

The province hopes the extra funding will help physicians manage their growing patient load. The government is acknowledging that growing and managing a panel of patients in primary care generates costs that are not faced by all practice environments.

The intent is for physicians to use the money to fund staff, technology, and other practice resources to reduce the time, cost, and effort spent on administrative tasks involved with providing comprehensive primary care, allowing family practitioners to spend more time with patients.

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