Events

37th Annual Calgary Therapeutics Course

April 23 - 24, 2020

This evidence-based course is designed to introduce new medications, new indications for older products and new guidelines for treatment.

The 5As Team approach to helping your patients living with Obesity

Course cancelled

Interactive workshop provides an overview of therapeutic approaches to help frame clinical conversations and discuss strategies to improve obesity prevention and management in a practice. Participate in a simulation activity and practice using a collaborative, personalized approach to obesity prevention and management. Included in this workshop is a take home toolkit to use in a practice.

2nd Annual Well Doc Alberta Symposium: CONNECT

Event cancelled

With concern for meeting the healthcare needs of Albertans and caring for our families during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are canceling our Symposium on April 27.

Family Physicians and CancerControl: Strengthening Linkages Workshop

Event cancelled

The annual Family Physicians and CancerControl: Strengthening Linkages Workshop brings together family physicians, health professionals, and oncology specialists to discuss cancer related topics.

Wise Prescribing and Deprescribing Paired Workshops

March 23 and May 25, 2020

The Wise Prescribing and Deprescribing: Opioid Skills for the Frontline Clinician course provides opportunities for you to review the principles and guidelines for opioid tapering.

Medical Record Keeping

Workshop postponed. Future date TBD

Pre-course online self-learning followed by face to face workshop and post-workshop webinar. This program aims to address sufficient documentation, which is central to patient safety and continuity of quality care. Participants will learn how to appropriately document patient encounters following the Subjective Objective Assessment Plan (SOAP) format.

Essential Strategies for Chronic Pain Management

April 20 - 21, 2020 or June 8 - 9, 2020

This two-day course in a classroom setting will provide an overview of the key issues and an opportunity for small group interactions.

2020 Diabetes and Endocrine Update

September 12, 2020

This one-day course will provide physicians and healthcare professionals with the latest in Diabetes as well as an approach to common Endocrine problems.

4th Annual Radiology Update Navigating Imaging for the Family Physician

September 19, 2020

MIC Medical Imaging invites family physicians to a one-day session that provides attendees with an opportunity to: learn more about the latest advances in radiology; interact with MIC’s radiologists during the “Ask Us Anything” sessions; attend an informative session on nuclear medicine imaging; and participate in highly rated, small group, live ultrasound demonstrations.

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News and Latest UpdatesRSS

Business Viability in Times of Crisis Webinar

April 8, 2020

Join us April 9, 12-1:30 p.m., for an introductory webinar presentation from law firm, McLennan Ross, followed by a panel discussion and Q and A. This webinar is intended for all physicians and their business managers/clinic or office managers who may be experiencing business challenges due to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s unilateral implementation of their Physician Funding Framework. Attendees will gain an introductory understanding of available subsidies and HR practices, with specific discussion and information about how subsidies and supports may apply to them.

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.

Government rejects call for delayed implementation of framework

March 30, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today, we received the Minister's response stating that the government intends to proceed with the remaining elements of the framework on March 31. I share your extreme frustration and disappointment with this decision. Adding further disruption and uncertainty to a health care system already under unprecedented pressure from COVID-19 is simply irresponsible and not in the best interests of the health care system and our patients.

Important Message to Albertans from Your Family Physicians

March 30, 2020

In this COVID-19 pandemic, family physicians in the province want to reassure their patients that they are still open and able to care for them. Whether patients have questions and concerns related to COVID-19, or are in need of care or advice for something else, family physicians are still open for business as usual. Albertans need to know that there are many ways their family physicians can care for them safely and effectively, including virtually.

Influenza Immunization Program Update

March 27, 2020

The Influenza Immunization Program for 2019-2020 is almost over. As of March 21, 2020, 1,426,778 doses of influenza vaccine have been administered in Alberta.

March 2020 Billing Corner

March 27, 2020

March 2020 Billing Corner was amended March 27, 2020. Please read and share with your billing staff.

AMA President-Elect: Call for Nominations

March 26, 2020

The Call for Nominations period for the 2020-21 president-elect is open. Nominations are due by 9 a.m., Friday, April 24.

CPSA COVID-19 Physician Registry: Please update your status

March 26, 2020

To do our part to support the response to COVID-19, AMA is supporting AHS and CPSA’s central registry for physicians to self-report their ability to provide clinical services during the pandemic: Please take 5 minutes to update your status in CPSA’s Physician Portal, and, if your status changes during the pandemic, please update your response.

Delaying cancer screening appointments during COVID-19

March 25, 2020

To slow down the spread of COVID-19, and to ensure health resources are available to support the urgent needs of all Albertans, AHS’s Screening Programs has made the decision, in collaboration with the Emergency Coordination Centre and its partners, to delay non-urgent cancer screening at this time.

Looking for daily updates on Alberta's COVID-19 response?

March 24, 2020

AHS distributes an update to medical staff daily that outlines key information and developments on the COVID-19 response. Some resources in the update are specific to AHS; however, many of the updates are also relevant to primary care.

AMA Staff Working from Home

March 24, 2020

IMPORTANT: As of Monday, March 23, all AMA staff are working from home and AMA physical locations are closed. This transition to work from home is consistent with our business continuity plan and the general recommendations made by the provincial Medical Officer of Health to facilitate social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19. The AMA has implemented tools to ensure we operate at full capacity while doing our part to keep staff and our community safe and healthy. All the normal telephone and email channels for communicating with AMA staff remain active.

Virtual care codes now available

March 23, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Good News today! Following discussions between the Alberta Medical Association and government, I’m very happy to let you know that three new categories of virtual care codes have been established so that family physicians and specialists can provide more telemedicine, such as teleconferencing and video, for an expanded scope of patient needs during the pandemic.

Babylon: setting the record straight

March 21, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In my letter yesterday, I spent too little space on fully explaining the facts and issues around the new Telus Babylon product and the AMA’s concerns. Thank you for sending your concerns through to me. It is a complex problem and I need to address it further. Please be aware that AMA is currently working on a complete virtual care schedule with Alberta Health. It is imperative that this is operational as soon as possible. From my perspective, it is overdue. Let’s start with what we know about Babylon.

Cyber-bullying, government discussion on virtual care and stipends

March 20, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: It has come to my attention that things were said yesterday on social media and outside of it that are deeply troubling. Whether you agree with public officials or not, making personal attacks and threats on them and their families is never acceptable. It’s cyber-bullying, plain and simple; it’s not who we are as physicians, and it must stop. The comments, which I will not dignify by repeating or referencing here, did not originate from an AMA member, though some members may have shared or liked them.

COVID-19 response: We need to stand together

March 18, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In my President’s Letter yesterday I mentioned there are issues with enabling the profession to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to share with you what I believe is needed in order to provide patients with the care they need.

Complex modifier change paused; other proposals remain to be implemented

March 17, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: This afternoon, government announced that the proposed changes to physicians’ payments for the Complex (Time) Modifier will not go ahead as planned on April 1, 2020. This is great news. The development came out of discussions last week between the working group of Alberta Medical Association and government. The AMA’s objective continues to be an agreement that will provide fairness for physicians and value for patients. An agreement would provide stability for physicians and support ongoing collaboration in development of a sustainable health care system for Albertans. Please be aware that I have written to the Minister today with two concerns:

Government discussions; COVID-19 and AMA support

March 16, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented public health challenge. During these times of crisis, adhering to the public health direction as a single source of truth is imperative.

March-April 2020 Alberta Doctors' Digest now online

March 12, 2020

Highlights in this issue: albertapatients.ca now has more than 11,000 members; Guest Editorial: Illegal organ harvesting must stop; Privacy breach prevention in your office; Olympic gold medalist inspires Indigenous youth; AMA Shines A Light on Drs Francesco Mosaico and Remo Panaccione; Alberta medical students focus on personal and peer health and wellness; and a lot more!

Representative Forum cancelled

March 11, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The AMA has been consulting with public health leaders with respect to holding the Representative Forum in person this weekend during the current COVID 19 pandemic. (Just this morning, the World Health Organization officially announced that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.)

RF meeting cancelled

March 11, 2020

The AMA has been consulting with public health leaders with respect to holding the Representative Forum in the current COVID 19 pandemic, which the World Health Organization has just announced. As of today we believe there is too much risk in bringing this many physicians together and the March 13-14 Representative Forum meeting has been cancelled. The Board of Directors will have a teleconference this evening to consider the outcome of the two days of meetings with government this week. We will also be working towards a virtual RF meeting in the near future.

Discussions continue with government

March 7, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I am pleased to advise you that discussions continue next week with the Alberta government in an attempt toward a physician agreement that provides value for patients, fairness for physicians and affordability for the system.

Update on AMA’s response to government actions

March 2, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Government has unilaterally terminated our agreement and imposed their dictates on the profession. My February 26 President’s Letter provided a list of actions and activities that the AMA is undertaking in response. Today, I provide an update on a number of those items.I want to acknowledge the sheer amount of information that we have been sending to members. You may be feeling like there is a fire-hose of information coming at you. Government has purposely created an environment where their decisions and actions have so many implications and unintended consequences that no matter where you look - there is chaos.

Provincial budget

February 27, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Government has tabled its second provincial budget. The budget reflects the devastating cuts to physician payments that were announced last week and the hostile action of this ministry in tearing up our Alberta Medical Association contract. The budget gives the impression that “there’s nothing to see here” and physician compensation is portrayed as frozen. Physician compensation is anything but frozen. Once again, government is misleading Albertans about what they are doing.

AMA assistance is available to physicians exploring or applying for a clinical ARP

February 26, 2020

Interested in a clinical Alternative Relationship Plan? Whether it’s for the Annualized, Sessional or primary care Blended Capitation Model, we’ve got you covered.

First do no harm. We Must Act for Patients’ Safety and Access

February 26, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Tomorrow government tables its latest budget in the Legislature. This event will generate a lot of noise in the media and spark further public debate. We do not expect a significant change to our situation. Government has torn up the agreement with the profession and continues with some ill-conceived changes that will be destructive to your practices and to our health care system.

Master agreement terminated

February 21, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The termination of our master agreement is an outrageous action that must be challenged. Government is putting physicians and patients at risk. The AMA Board met last night and will meet again Sunday. We are reaching out to all sections and zone medical staff associations to discuss: legal options; plans for engaging the public; the results of our surveys (“Yes” patients overwhelmingly value their time with their doctor and feel that sometimes more is needed; “No” patients don’t agree with the tearing up of contracts); and next steps needed to get government’s attention.

Response to government announcement

February 20, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I write to you today with great concern for our public health care system in Alberta. Today, the Minister of Health announced that government is ending its master agreement with physicians and enacting the 11 consultation proposals they tabled in November of last year. I wanted to share with you the following statement that we have issued in response:

Negotiations update – mediation unsuccessful

February 15, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On January 31, I wrote to inform members that our negotiations with government were moving to mediation. Unfortunately, that voluntary mediation process was not successful. There are a few possibilities for next steps. Some of which the parties can do together, others that would be done separately. We are actively exploring our options and will be reaching out to the Health Minister to discuss a way forward that will satisfy the needs of Albertans and treat physicians fairly.

Flawed data equals flawed decision-making

February 14, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In my President’s Letter last Friday, I shared our negotiations objectives and what we consider to be key requirements for reaching a deal with government: Better information – government is using misleading physician payment figures Clear vision required – a lot of ideas out there, they need to be brought into focus; Provincial physician compensation strategy – essential for true system improvement; A way to deal fairly with physician supply and control practitioner ID numbers. Today I would like to focus on the first requirement: better information.

Negotiations update and AMA's key requirements for an agreement

February 7, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As reported last week, Alberta Health and the AMA have brought in a mediator to assist with negotiations. There is still a long way to go, but I believe it is positive that both parties are doing what they can to reach an agreement.

Alberta Health Services Review: Concern for health care in Alberta

February 5, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The 57 recommendations in the Alberta Health Services Performance Review are a compendium of cost-cutting opportunities that purport to improve value in health care by either reducing cost with no impact on quality of care, or by reducing cost and improving quality. It’s an interesting concept. We can understand the exercise of looking at the current state and seeking efficiencies; the report provides many ideas to consider. The picture is still incomplete, though, if we don’t also look at what the health care system needs to deliver for patients today and in the future.

AHS Review: Initial reaction

February 3, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today government released the long-awaited Ernst & Young summary report of Alberta Health Services Performance Review. We have had a little time to review it, but much more time will be required given the scope and the potential implications.

Negotiations move to mediation

January 31, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Our negotiations with government are moving to a new stage. We have been at the negotiating table since November 2019. While we have seen some advances in recent weeks, both sides have agreed that discussions would benefit from mediation. A mutually agreed upon mediator has been appointed this week with the first mediated discussion occurring today. Meetings are currently scheduled to the end of February.

Update on AHS stipends

January 24, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Within the set of 11 insured services consultation proposals that Alberta Health provided to the AMA on November 14, proposal 8 plans to eliminate some stipends that are currently paid to physicians practicing in AHS programs.

What are your perspectives on ordering imaging for uncomplicated low back pain?

January 17, 2020

University of Calgary researchers are looking to interview Alberta family physicians to better understand clinical perspectives related to uncomplicated low back pain imaging. The purpose of this research is to gain a better understanding of factors that influence imaging ordering practices. Research findings will help design better interventions used to optimize recommendations in practice. Interviews will take approximately 45 minutes, at a location and time of your choice. You will be offered an honorarium for your time.

First update of 2020: Many things underway

January 13, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I will provide you with updates on discussions with government and negotiations frequently in the weeks ahead.

Medical cannabis and the older adult

January 9, 2020

Mary Brown is 82 years' old. She comes in for routine monitoring of her heart failure and diabetes and reports that she has been having pain in her feet that interferes with her ability to sleep at night. Her granddaughter has suggested that cannabis as an ideal treatment.

Plans in place for 2020

December 24, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Last Friday you will have received a copy of the AMA’s final response document for government’s Insured Services Consultation. The December 20, 2019 President’s Letter is on our website if you missed it. It contains our perspective on the consultation items.

AMA response to government consultation proposals

December 20, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On November 14, the Alberta government tabled several proposals, which they considered to be outside of negotiations, and gave the AMA until today (December 20) to formally respond. We received feedback from over 1500 physicians and I am writing today to provide members with the AMA’s response to the Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services Insured Services Consultation proposals.

Government consultation proposals: action to date

December 16, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I am writing today to provide a brief update of the work and activities that have taken place since the Special RF on December 7.

HQCA Evaluation: Crowfoot and Taber Clinics

December 11, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On December 9, the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) released its Final Report of the Crowfoot and Taber clinics case study evaluation.

Special RF Response to Government, Pushing Back

December 9, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The special meeting of the Representative Forum took place on Saturday, December 7 in Calgary. Delegates received a full update on the current negotiations with government for a new financial agreement. There was a presentation on the evolving AMA response to the 11 consultation proposal items that government has released and that were the subject of my November 29 President’s Letter. The RF also endorsed the Board of Directors’ proposed plan to respond to these challenges and ensure that government hears our concerns.

Deep Concerns re Government Consultation

November 29, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: This is in regard to recent developments in our negotiations with government that are deeply concerning for the profession. I want to provide you with information regarding what government has proposed, what work the AMA is doing to review these proposals and how you can contribute. On November 14, government tabled several proposals which, in their view, were outside the negotiations. They asked the AMA to respond by November 20 as to how we would like to be consulted.

On conscience rights legislation

November 13, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On November 7, a United Conservative Party MLA tabled a private members bill: Bill 207, Conscience Rights (Health Care Providers) Protection Act. I wanted you to know that I have written to Minister of Health Tyler Shandro to express the opinion that this legislation is unnecessary and inappropriate. You can review my letter here.

Apply today for the TD Insurance Meloche Monnex/AMA Medical Student Bursary

November 12, 2019

We are now accepting online applications for the 2019-20 TD Insurance Meloche Monnex/AMA Medical Student Bursary! Please submit your online application by December 31, as applications received after this date will not be accepted.

Important updates to Alberta Netcare Portal for Connect Care launch

November 8, 2019

Over the weekend Alberta Netcare Portal implemented a release to support the November 3 launch of Connect Care. Please ensure to share this communication with your colleagues as they may be impacted by this release.

Blood pressure management and dementia prevention: Is lower better?

November 7, 2019

Elaine is a 78-year-old woman with hypertension and is on multiple medications. She is concerned about memory changes and has read that well-controlled blood pressure will protect her from dementia.

Wave 1 of Connect Care has launched. How is it affecting community and AHS physicians?

November 6, 2019

This past Sunday, November 3, the Wave 1 implementation of Connect Care launched. Continue reading to find out how this is affecting community physicians and AHS physicians.

On-call deserves our support

November 5, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Our rural physician colleagues have recently been in the media with concerns related to reductions in on-call payments by Alberta Health Services. Our rural members, who are already stressed by a heavy burden of service, know that reducing on-call support will make it even more difficult to recruit and retain physicians to rural areas.

New Legislation – AMA Agreement and Physician Supply

October 30, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Government has tabled legislation: Bill 21 Ensuring Fiscal Sustainability Act. This omnibus bill amends a number of statutes. Having received it late Monday afternoon, we have been exploring its implications. There are important provisions relating to the Alberta Health Care Insurance Act.

Introducing: the Section of Family Medicine

October 23, 2019

The Section of General Practice officially became the Section of Family Medicine at its Annual General Meeting on September 26. The new name more accurately describes the work being done by family physicians every day. The term "family medicine" recognizes the specialized care offered by family physicians and communicates the important role they play in the lives of their patients and in the health care system as a whole.

Connect Care Launch: Must-read information

October 16, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On November 3, Alberta Health Services will launch the first wave of Connect Care in the Edmonton Zone. Supported by a fully integrated clinical information system, Connect Care will consolidate the patient’s story, including goals, problems, plans, investigations, treatments and all prior AHS health records. Connect Care is the AHS record of care.

Physician On-Call What's Happening; What's Next

October 9, 2019

PRESIDENT's LETTER: Many of you will have received an Alberta Health Services bulletin last week: Physician On-Call Program Changes Effective October 1, 2019, that highlighted changes in the number of on-call categories from five to three, and a reduction of stipends paid for those services.

In your service: a new president’s thoughts

October 7, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: It is a great honor to represent our profession as AMA president. I have been a physician for 43 years. I have practiced my dual specialty in Calgary at the Foothills Medical Centre and in EFW Radiology’s community clinics for 34 years. I now come before you simply as a physician devoted to our profession.

Is regular email a secure messaging tool?

October 1, 2019

A recent breach has brought the risks of emailing (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, Shaw, etc) personal health information to the forefront. What appears to be a secure and convenient tool has many potential risks that can result in the exposure of personal health information and along with that, liability issues for physicians.

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