Better access to publicly funded diagnostic imaging

Medically required DI services such as X-rays, ultrasounds and fluoroscopies referred by chiropractors, physiotherapists and audiologists will now be insured under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan.    

“This change is about removing barriers and easing pressures on primary health care. Having more health professionals provide publicly funded DI referrals for services will alleviate congestion in the system and improve patient access so diagnosis and treatment will not be delayed.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

Under the current policy, patients must see a physician to obtain referral for DI services that are paid by the government. The change will make it easier for patients to access insured services, enhance coordinated care and help ease pressures on the health system.   

“We commend Minister Copping for this approach on greater access to care. As chiropractors, ordering publicly funded diagnostic imaging supports patients in early treatment and diagnosis. This is a path forward with team-based care, and to us this demonstrates the best use of the full scope of practice as we strive to modernize primary care.”

Dr. Kelly Fleck, chair, Chiropractic Association of Alberta

“As chiropractors we have a duty to diagnose and a commitment to care. With access to publicly funded diagnostic imaging, we can provide effective treatment for our patients by contributing to team-based care for the efficiency of primary care in Alberta.”

Dr. Hassen Taha, Edmonton Pain and Injury Clinic

Allowing more heath professionals to provide referrals for insured DI services will also allow these health providers to work to the full extent of their education, skill and experience.

“We commend the Government of Alberta for taking this very important step. This measure will create greater access and shorter pathways for Albertans to obtain timely diagnoses and treatments by empowering their physiotherapist, chiropractor or audiologist to request the appropriate, publicly funded diagnostic imaging. We appreciate the government's commitment to modernizing the primary health care system and fostering high-quality, patient-focused approaches within our system.”

Geoff Schneider, chair, Alberta Association of Physiotherapy

“Although audiologists have not referred for imaging in the past, this is a positive step forward for our colleagues in these professions and we fully support this change.”

Kathleen Jones, president, Alberta Association of Audiologists

This change only applies to DI services that chiropractors, physiotherapists and audiologists are eligible to refer for, such as X-rays, ultrasounds and fluoroscopies. DI services such as CT scans and MRIs are not affected by this change.

Alberta Health is working on updating the billing system to operationalize this change. A Medical Bulletin will be issued when information technology changes are complete.