The Alberta government has approved a bid by the Enoch Cree Nation near Edmonton to build a private clinic to perform thousands of publicly covered hip and knee surgeries.
Health Minister Jason Copping says the clinic is to be built by the middle of next year to reduce a backlog of orthopedic operations in and around the capital.
The clinic will be a partnership between the Enoch Cree and Surgical Centres Inc., a private operator that runs seven clinics in Canada, including two in Calgary.
Alberta Health says the partners will be responsible for building and equipment costs, while surgeries themselves are to be covered by public funds.
Copping says there are almost 23,000 Albertans waiting for orthopedic surgeries, one-third of those for knee replacements.
Enoch Cree Chief Billy Morin says the centre will offer culturally appropriate care as well.
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