Alberta forecasts $400 million in savings following new doctor deal

But despite lower costs from an improved healthcare model, provincial healthcare spending has gone up

Alberta forecasts $400 million in savings following new doctor deal
Alberta anticipates that it will save $400 million in healthcare costs this year thanks to a deal with provincial doctors that it recently entered into.

Looking to curb rises in healthcare spending, the government has bargained with the Alberta Medical Association to create a new funding model that would make healthcare more community-focused healthcare, according to Metro News Canada.

Details of the deal have been outlined in the province’s 2017 budget. Some of the changes in healthcare include altering fee-for-service models to avoid duplicating services and using online tools to share data and enhance care coordination.

“The government is managing to save a lot of money from the program they currently have in place but I still think we need to see exactly where that’s going to go,” said Sandra Azocar, executive director of non-profit group Friends of Medicare.

Healthcare spending growth in the province has reached 6% historically. Last year, it was at 2.5%, and this year it edged up to 3.2%.

This year’s spending increase doesn’t concern Azocar, who said the change is in line with inflation and population growth. “That’s important for the operational funding that’s required to continue,” she told Metro News.

Aside from operational expenditures, the government is spending $4.5 billion over four years on capital investments. In Edmonton, these include plans for a new hospital, projects at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, and modernization of the Misericordia Community Hospital. Calgary will also receive $131 million that will go toward a continuing-care facility.

Commenting on government plans for Royal Alex, Azocar said the government is making positive strides by promising 2,000 long-term care beds and new mental health programs, particularly those geared toward youth.

“We will continue to push this government to make sure they follow through on their prior promises,” she said.

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