Sask. government makes health-care agreement with the feds

The Saskatchewan government says it has reached an agreement in principle with the federal government regarding health-care funding.

A release was sent out noting that the province will receive a one-time $61-million investment and an additional $111 million annually to the $6.4-billion health-care budget.

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The province says the money will be used to accelerate or enhance new measures aiming to improve primary health care, surgeries and mental health and addictions services.

Health Minister Paul Merriman is set to speak on the agreement at 2 p.m. in Saskatoon.

Premier Scott Moe expressed his disappointment with the initial federal funding offer on Feb. 13, but noted that any additional funding was welcome.

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He said the number one thing they’re trying to address is the number of qualified people working in the field, with the second priority aiming to address surgical wait times.

“Those surgical wait times that we now have are going to take some outside-of-the-box thinking on how we’re going to approach them.”

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He said the province is looking at publicly funded surgeries in the private delivery realm, saying there’s a conversation to be had for certain surgeries.

Moe said virtual health care is another tool that is becoming more commonplace.

He added that health care is changing, and programs are different now than they were five years ago.

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