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AMA addresses rural family medicine ahead of provincial budget

As the Provincial Government prepares to introduce its 2024-25 budget, Alberta Medical Association President Dr. Paul Parks says the AMA is committed to ensuring rural family medicine is a top priority.

According to Parks, the AMA has “committed every necessary AMA resource” to ensuring rural practices are recognized across the province, including Grande Prairie. He says it is important for the AMA to recognize rural practices and urban practices may not operate in the same way, and funding should reflect that.

“Family physicians that are in an urban centre that work within a community, their practice looks different than a family physician that’s in a smaller community or a regional centre,” he says.

“They may do some of their time in the hospital, some of their time in long-term care and continued care facilities, and some of their time in their community practices, so we’re just trying to make sure that the funding model supports all types of primary care.”

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Parks adds that as rural communities continue to dwindle while demand increases, the AMA hopes to create a model that incentivizes physicians to operate and continue to operate in communities like Grande Prairie.

“Because Grande Prairie is challenged, like many [communities], there are a high percentage of people that can’t get access to family physicians.”

“It’ll make it so existing practices can stay and be able to take more patients on because they can build the team around them.”

The AMA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Alberta which commits the Province and the AMA to work together to “modernize” Alberta’s Primary Health Care System.

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