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Influenza Immunization Program Update

June 1, 2020

The Influenza immunization Program for 2019-2020 is over. As of May 2, 2020: 1,438,866 doses of influenza vaccine were administered in Alberta. This equates to a provincial coverage rate of 32.9%, an increase of 2.8% over the 2018-2019 season.

PPE for Physician Offices - Update from AHS

June 1, 2020

Alberta Health Services has been and will continue to provide Personal Protective Equipment to physician and specialist offices. AHS will also continue to provide PPE to partners such as contracted continuing care facilities.

Tentative AMA-WCB agreement reached, ratification vote now open

May 28, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: One of the core functions of the Alberta Medical Association is the negotiation of compensation agreements on behalf of Alberta physicians. While the spotlight these days has been on our ongoing struggle to reach a master agreement with government, at any given time we are negotiating a number of different contractual arrangements for subsets of the membership. One of the most significant of these is our negotiations with the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB). This is an agreement for physician services provided to employees covered by the WCB. Negotiations for a new agreement between AMA and WCB commenced on June 14, 2019 and the parties reached an agreement, in principle, on March 27, 2020. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on April 6, 2020.

Community access to PPE: physician concerns, principles

May 27, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The AMA sits on the Pandemic Community Supports Working Group, which is chaired by Alberta Health and also including Alberta Health Services and the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta. This working group has been a successful space for advancing solutions to pandemic issues, from establishing virtual care codes, to streamlining and clarifying communication issues and more. Access to personal protective equipment has been a constant agenda item.

Facts worth repeating, myths worth busting

May 22, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In the ongoing impasse with the Alberta Medical Association, government continues to promote its own messaging, some of it misleading. The MacKinnon report alleges that Alberta doctors are paid far more than provincial counterparts (“as much as $100,000 a year” or “35%”). Other examples include claims that the AMA failed to bring forward any proposals during negotiations, and government MLAs have said that our negotiation strategy failed to include the interests of rural physicians.

Update Regarding Resumption of Cancer Screening Services

May 20, 2020

A message from Alberta Health Services: Albertans’ collective efforts of physical distancing, good hygiene practices and staying safe together are helping slow the spread of COVID-19. This has given AHS Cancer Screening Programs confidence to begin resuming cancer screening services. A cautious and phased approach will guide the resumption of services.

Medical students say, "Thanks!"

May 20, 2020

The TD Insurance Meloche Monnex / AMA Medical Student Bursaries help to reduce financial pressure from escalating medical school tuition fees. This is so that every qualified student can afford to attend medical school. Since 2001 the program has awarded $1,845,000. This year we were fortunate to administer $1,500 bursaries to each of 90 well-deserving medical students, and they want to express their gratitude to you!

Screening mammography to resume at community Diagnostic Imaging clinics May 19

May 19, 2020

The Alberta Society of Radiologists / Section of Diagnostic Imaging would like to advise colleagues that screening mammography will resume at community Diagnostic Imaging clinics on May 19. This is in order to allow planning time to address a possible return of those patients wanting related consultations and requisitions.

We Asked, You Answered

May 19, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Thank you for the fantastic response to our member’s survey April 14-24! Almost 4,500 members (32%) responded, giving a clear picture of what is important to you and providing a foundation for our advocacy and planning. Your thoughtful responses are greatly appreciated. There were over 550 pages of verbatim comments. Clearly, there is much that the membership wants to share. We will continue to seek out ways to actively hear from you.

Exercise your right of representation

May 15, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In the absence of an agreement, through our members the AMA continues to assert our representative role to effectively support you with respect to the Schedule of Medical Benefits, Alberta Health Services payments, clinical alternative relationship plans (ARPs) and all matters relating to physician compensation. Thank you for so actively supporting our profession to speak with one voice!

May-June 2020 Alberta Doctors' Digest now online

May 13, 2020

Highlights in this issue: The 1918-19 Spanich Flu in Alberta; Always on alert for health threats; Need to modify your practice or work from home? Here's how; Raising awareness of pelvic floor disorders among refugee and immigrant women; Health Law Update: Doctors and the economy; Students helping their communities SHINE; and a lot more!

We are the AMA

May 8, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On May 5, I released a letter to the Minister. It was jointly signed by physician leaders as a declaration of unity within the profession and support for the Alberta Medical Association as the representative of physicians.

Call for applications: Committee on Achievement Awards

May 7, 2020

The AMA is currently recruiting to fill vacancies on the Committee on Achievement Awards. This committee reviews nominations and recommends recipients for several of AMA’s prestigious awards. The deadline to apply is June 8, 2020.

National Physicians' Day

May 1, 2020

We are grateful for everything that doctors do every day — never more so than in the current global health crisis. As we thank our physicians, we also recognize and thank every other health or essential service provider — our extended team and family. And last but not least, thank you to our patients and the brave citizens of Alberta. It takes a province to beat a pandemic. We will get there together.

Optimizing Clinic & PCN Team Supports to Enhance Patient Care using Panel Management Processes

May 1, 2020

Webinar recording and slides deck now available. This webinar will be led by primary care physicians and Primary Care Network leader/s who will share their experience and tips on how they: manage their panel of patients; manage their panel of patients with support from PCN resources; enhance care for patients at risk using a PCN and Zonal panel management approach; highlight the Panel Management Tool Kit.

Your representation matters

April 30, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Alberta Medical Association plans to protect your rights and to ensure your voice is heard. The following is information pertinent to that goal. The role of the AMA as the representative of Alberta physicians is a crucial piece of a well-functioning health care system that puts Patients First®. For a long time, representation rights came through our agreements with government. In 2018, legislation was enacted to enshrine the basic right to representation for physicians, though how this was effectively realized – such as access to dispute resolution and processes for negotiation – was specified within the AMA Agreement.

Scotiabank, CMA and MD Financial Management commit further support to physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic

April 29, 2020

Scotiabank, in partnership with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and MD Financial Management Inc. (MD), has committed $4.6 million to further support physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AMA President-Elect 2020-21 acclamation

April 28, 2020

Dr. Vesta Michelle Warren has been acclaimed to the position of Alberta Medical Association President-Elect for 2020-21. Dr. Warren will assume the President-Elect role on September 26, at the close of the Fall 2020 Representative Forum meeting.

Meeting Patients' Needs: A Stepwise Approach to Delivering Care for Primary and Specialty Care Clinics

April 27, 2020

The April 24 webinar recording and slide deck are now available. The session was led by primary care and community specialists who shared their experience and tips on how they: organized their clinic space to keep patients and staff safe; optimized the clinic team for all aspects of care delivery; identified what work can be done today to meet the patient's needs and protect your capacity for tomorrow; assessed and delivered appointment options for patient care - virtual or in-person; and managed patients discharged from the hospital.

MLR: Setting the Record Straight

April 27, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The April 24 President’s Letter, in response to the government’s provincial announcement about rural care, resulted in a strong and positive response about the importance of unity in our profession. Similarly, the voice for unity was eloquently proclaimed by communiques from the Section of Family Medicine, the Section of Rural Medicine and the Rural Sustainability Group.

AMA Response to Provincial Announcement on Support for Rural Health Care

April 24, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In response to an announcement today by the Minister of Health regarding rural care, I have released a written response. Section of Rural Medicine President Dr. Ed Aasman, has also sent a letter to his section members.

Alberta Medical Association Response to Provincial Announcement on Support for Rural Health Care

April 24, 2020

After weeks of public advocacy by rural physicians and the Alberta Medical Association, Health Minister Tyler Shandro today announced major support dedicated to rural medicine. We thank rural physicians for all their efforts and also the many Albertans who expressed their own concerns.

Myth Busters

April 21, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Recently government MLAs have been in touch with members to discuss the current situation between doctors and physicians. Dialogue like this is very helpful in creating common understanding of the issues facing physicians and Albertans at this time. Hopefully this will result in progress toward broader engagement with physicians through our representative body (the AMA), leading to a negotiated agreement, which includes independent arbitration.

Embattled

April 17, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The level of disruption in our lives and the “new normal,” doesn’t feel normal at all. We are more familiar than we ever wanted to be with things like PPE, doubling times, burnout rates, the impact of testing and isolation and the emerging data on flattening the curve.

Billing Corner

April 17, 2020

We have updated the March Billing Corner with new billing information learned over the past couple of weeks. Additionally, we have split the Billing Corner documents into two, one just for Virtual Care and the other just for March 31 changes. Please read the documents and share with your billing staff.

Junior high school students say "Thanks!" to Alberta's health care workers

April 17, 2020

The grade 7 and 8 students of Edmonton's Svend Hansen Junior High shared 60 thank-you cards with us, made to show appreciation for the efforts of community health care workers, especially during this difficult time. Thank you for this kind gesture, Svend Hansen students!

AMA holiday office hours

April 9, 2020

Please note the AMA phone lines will be closed Friday, April 10 for Good Friday and Monday, April 13 for Easter Monday. Regular business hours will resume Tuesday, April 14. All AMA physical locations continue to be closed.

Our charter challenge for due process and fair negotiations

April 9, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: If you told me a year ago that I would serve the Minister of Health with a Statement of Claim for a constitutional challenge, in the midst of the worst public health crisis in a century, I would have been incredulous. Yet, that is what happened this morning.

Top of Mind: Government Relations and Supporting Members and Albertans in COVID-19

April 7, 2020

PRSIDENT'S LETTER: This is a very stressful time as we enter the COVID-19 surge environment. Our normal life and work patterns are disrupted and anxiety-laden. We enter this time without the confidence that we are valued by our government, having endured their inequitable treatment as they now call on us to serve. But we do not serve a government, we serve Albertans. And serve we will as we march into battle to support Albertans, facing the biggest challenge of our lifetime.

Supporting each other through the storm

April 3, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We find ourselves in the midst of a perfect storm. Physicians are working hard in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are preparing to give the all-out effort required to save lives and will be there when it counts. Albertans can rely on that. This is despite the fact that for months, we’ve notified the Provincial Government that their planned changes in health funding would be damaging and destabilizing to medical practices across the province.

Is it therapeutic failure or is she forgetting to take her pills?

March 2, 2020

Mrs. Home is 75-year-old. She lives alone in a seniors’ independent living apartment and has had three emergency room visits in the last six months for hyperglycemia and poor blood pressure control. She currently takes 11 different medications and admits to forgetting to take her pills sometimes. How would you approach helping her with medication adherence?

The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.