+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 17-22F

Government Funding For Nurse Practitioners

Date:
November 9, 2022
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2025
Active Status:
Active
Sponsors:
Beaver County
District:
5 - Edmonton East
Year:
2022
Convention:
Fall
Category:
Health
Status:
Sent to Government
Vote Results:
Carried
Preamble:

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta is responsible for the delivery of medical services to Albertans; and

WHEREAS there is a shortage of physicians in the province, particularly in rural Alberta; and

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta established the Rural Physician Action Plan in 1991 to support practicing rural physicians; and

WHEREAS the Rural Physician Action Plan met with limited success, and rural Alberta municipalities continue to struggle with the attraction and retention of physicians; and

WHEREAS Alberta has more than 800 licensed nurse practitioners, with 30to 100 new graduates annually; and

WHEREAS nurse practitioners are health care professionals with training to provide essential health care services; and

WHEREAS nurse practitioners are completely independent health care professionals who could work in urgent care facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, community clinics, primary care offices, and hospitals; and

WHEREAS most of Alberta’s nurse practitioners work in hospitals due to lack of a salary-based funding model which would compensate them fairly and equitably, and enable the establishment of independent practices throughout Alberta; and

WHEREAS adequate Government of Alberta funding for nurse practitioners will alleviate the shortage of physicians and expand the reach of health care to rural Albertans of all ages;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta request the Government of Alberta to establish a salary-based funding model that will fairly and equitably compensate nurse practitioners for work in rural local care facilities and rural independent clinics.

Member Background:

Rural Albertans continue to experience significant challenges to health care accessibility. The number of family physicians has dropped 0.9% between April 2019/March 2020 and April 2020/March 2021 despite an increase in Alberta’s population.  A 2022 survey conducted by the Alberta Medical Association indicates that 34% of Albertans do not currently have a family physician.

One solution to this issue is care provided by nurse practitioners.

Nurse practitioners are health care professionals educated at the Master’s or PhD level. They are qualified to provide essential health care services such as primary care, outpatient clinic-based care, or hospital care, very similar to the care that a family doctor provides.

Nurse practitioners offer a wide range of services which include ordering and reading x-rays, tests, and laboratory results, performing exams and diagnosing problems, providing or ordering treatments, prescribing medications, providing follow-up care and education, and referring to specialists. They are independent and require no outside supervision of their practice.

Across Canada, nurse practitioners work in hospitals (35%), community health facilities (36%), and nursing homes (4%). The other 24% are educators, researchers, have returned to registered nursing roles, or are employed in private practices. Three million Canadians receive primary care from nurse practitioners and based on a study conducted by the Canadian Nurses Association in 2012, nurse practitioners have contributed to a 20% reduction in emergency department admissions from long-term care, and a 55% reduction in the use of multiple medications.

In Alberta, provincial funding to nurse practitioners working outside the hospital system flows through primary care networks (PCNs). PCN positions are historically underpaid and have limits placed on the number of patients who can been seen. The Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta submitted a proposal to the Government of Alberta in 2021, suggesting a salary-based model in which nurse practitioners are paid directly by the Government of Alberta.  Compared to a per-patient funding model, a salary-based model would enable nurse practitioners to provide a thorough, holistic approach to a patient’s health-care needs.

Due to the frequent leadership changes in government, the proposal has not moved forward.

Supporting Documentation:

Alberta Medical Association PatientsFirst Survey Findings

Alberta Government Website Reference

Canadian Nurses Association Survey

Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta website

RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Provincial Ministries:
Health
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