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The auditor general says caring for people with chronic health conditions in Alberta costs the provincial government billions of dollars each year.

The auditor general’s report on chronic disease management finds conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes are arguably the biggest challenges facing the system.

Merwan Saher looked at figures from 2012 and 2013 where about 735,000 people in the province were known to have at least one chronic condition. Their cost to the healthcare system was $4.5 billion. That cost doesn’t include things like lab tests, long-term care and home care.

The auditor says Alberta does a good job providing care for people with chronic diseases, but that the care tends to be fragmented.

Saher has made several recommendations around setting expectations for care, strengthening supports for family physicians, and sharing information between different sectors of the healthcare system to avoid gaps and duplication of services.

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