Alberta’s government is proposing historical funding to strengthen the province’s primary health care system.
In an announcement on Tuesday February 21st, Minister of Health Jason Copping introduced a portion of the 2023 Alberta budget that is slated to include a record $2 billion dollars towards improving Indigenous and Alberta primary health care. The funding would be used for primary care networks, family doctors, as well as funding to strengthen and modernize primary health care, to name a few.
This announcements includes First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples so they have equitable access to culturally safe and appropriate primary health care services.
“Indigenous people today still encounter many challenges when it comes to equitable access to quality health care. As CEO of Siksika Health Services and a Siksika Nation member myself, I know that the right solutions come from within the community. These investments are an important step towards ensuring that culturally safe, primary health care services are designed and delivered by Indigenous Peoples.”Naa Taoyi Piita Wo Taan, Dr. Tyler White, CEO, Siksika Health Services and chair, MAPS Indigenous panel
The record level of funding proposed includes $243 million in new funding over three years to strengthen the primary care system throughout the province. As part of this new funding, Budget 2023, if passed, would provide $125 million for implementing recommendations from MAPS, $40 million to support PCNs under the AMA agreement and $27 million to PCNs to provide for an expected increase of patients attached to a primary care provider. In addition, $12 million will support IT systems designed to improve the continuity of care across the province.
The new funding for MAPS will help implement recommendations from MAPS strategic advisory and Indigenous panels, including a series of strategic activities with tangible outcomes. These actions will begin to address some of the long-standing challenges faced by all Albertans, including Indigenous Peoples when trying to access primary health care in Alberta.
“I am proud of the strategic advisory panel’s work to identify early opportunities to invest in Alberta’s primary health care system. These measures represent an important bridge to stabilize the primary health care system, support health care workers and ultimately provide better care to Albertans.”Dr. Janet Reynolds, co-chair, MAPS strategic advisory panel
Minister Copping expects the panels will present their completed reports this spring. In the meantime, the recommendations identifying the early investment opportunities will be posted on the MAPS website.
The final reports from the MAPS panels will serve as the framework for the future delivery of primary care in Alberta. With a renewed focus on Albertans’ primary care, the province’s overall health system will be less dependent on emergency care and hospitalizations and provide the care Albertans need when and where they need it. This focus on primary care will also bring about better health outcomes for Albertans.