Alberta health minister to announce changes to rural health care, physician recruitment

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro will announce changes Friday designed “to enhance rural health care and strengthen rural physician recruitment and retention,” the province says in a media advisory.

You can watch the news conference here, starting at 1:30 p.m.

Shandro and Alberta’s physicians have been battling over compensation and other issues.

In February, after contract talks failed, the government cancelled a master agreement between the province and the Alberta Medical Association (AMA).

The province imposed billing changes that physicians say threaten the viability of their practices.

The AMA has filed a lawsuit against the government demanding fair and reasonable negotiations toward an agreement and the right to arbitration.

Physicians in several communities, including Lac La Biche, Stettler, Sundre and Pincher Creek, have recently served notice they will withdraw hospital services due to the funding changes and other issues.

Shandro will be joined at the news conference by MLAs Tany Yao, Nate Horner and Joseph Schow.

Yao, who represents Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, chairs the government’s rural caucus for northern Alberta. Horner, MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, chairs the rural caucus for southern Alberta. Schow represents the riding of Cardston-Siksika.

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