Health Minister Tyler Shandro has announced changes to rural health care in Alberta with the goal of strengthening physician recruitment and retention. Overhead changes announced earlier this year will be paused for urban doctors while rural doctors will be permanently exempt from any future changes.
The $60,000 cap on the Rural and Remote Northern Program will also be immediately cancelled. Shandro says it will now be the most generous in the country.
A total of $6 million will also be used to pay for the schooling of 20 medical students over the next three years to incentivize young Albertans from rural communities to return to practice in their home towns after med school. There are currently about 1,000 rural physicians practicing in Alberta.
Shandro has been under fire recently as a growing list of doctors in rural Alberta made changes to their practices like discontinuing extended services in hospitals.