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Cold Lake supports Hearts for Healthcare with $20,000

Cold Lake is helping Hearts for Healthcare.

The city set aside $20,000 to help recruit a doctor to Cold Lake.

Mayor Craig Copeland said the money was allocated in the budget, and a little more than their typical ask.

“We allocated $20,000 towards a doctor fund. That is going to go towards recruiting and sustaining doctors,” said Copeland.

“We’ve had doctors retire in Cold Lake. Cold Lake is short on doctors. We’ve had two new doctors into the city but we still have a lot of unattached patients. Alberta Health Services has taken over that role.”

The issue of recruiting doctors has been ongoing. Last year, council realized that despite having physician recruitment as one of their top priorities since 2006, there had been no significant increase in doctors to the city.

“The issue is you have to open up more seats in the medical schools for Canadian schools and there has to be incentives for Canadians to work in rural Alberta. I think the government has to come in and open more seats in universities across Canada,” said Copeland.

Hearts for Healthcare works to improve health care in Cold Lake by raising money for hospital equipment and provides incentives for doctors to come the area by covering some costs when the doctor arrives in the city.

“The City has a fund that a doctor can go to a bank and get a $50,000 line of credit to help start up their life in Cold Lake and the City pays the interest charges on the doctor. We have that agreement and then the Hearts for Healthcare will pay for their visit to Cold Lake, lunch, hotel, whatever. When they decide to come they try and help make the transition easie,” said Copeland.

The M.D. did not respond to Hearts for Healthcare’s request for $20,000 until they received more information.