President's Letter

Dr. Alison M. Clarke, President, Alberta Medical Association

The "voice of the AMA" – The President's Letter informs you about Alberta Medical Association positions on key issues in Alberta’s health care.  

Comments on the President's Letter are welcome. Go to the most recent President's Letter (see the link below) to participate in members-only commenting.

You may also contact the AMA President by email at president@albertadoctors.org

For older issues of the President's Letter (and issues on other topics), visit the President's Letter archive.

President's Letters and news releasesRSS

Update on first months with a new government

August 19, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Alberta Medical Association advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness. Most of the time, this requires collaboration with others in the system. Relationships matter – and the one between the profession and the Government of Alberta is one of the most important. As I look back over the past few months with our new government in place, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you. My first observation is that the new government has been very active, including in health care where they have launched reviews of Alberta Health Services, laboratory services and Connect Care.

Overhead Working Group report and what comes next

August 6, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I’m writing as promised in my July 9 President’s Letter to provide all members with a copy of the Overhead Working Group Assessment and Review Report regarding the overhead study commissioned by AMA and Alberta Health for the Income Equity Initiative. It is available here: https://www.albertadoctors.org/leaders-partners/income-equity/related-documents (member login required).

About laboratory services

July 26, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In June, the government cancelled construction of the Edmonton laboratory hub lab project and is currently exploring the needs of the province for laboratory services. Yesterday, the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science added its voice to support appropriate investment in this area. We wanted to update members with our own assessment of the situation and to let you know what the AMA and Section of Laboratory Physicians have been doing.

Overhead Working Group and Physician Compensation Committee

July 9, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: You may have seen an update bulletin from the Physician Compensation Committee today, including reference to the recent Deloitte overhead study and the committee’s discussion. As I wrote to you April 25 in a President’s Letter, the Board of Directors formed a small working group in response to concerns raised by the Representative Forum and sections about the results provided by Deloitte. The working group was asked to review what has been provided and then recommend (i) what, if any, elements of the study are usable and (ii) the next steps for ensuring usable overhead information in the Income Equity Initiative.

Board planning: Working with a new government and supporting members

May 15, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: At our annual planning retreat in a few weeks, the Board will be bringing together months of environmental scanning, analysis and discussion around the Board table. We will be planning for the year ahead in the interests of members and with a new government. Today I wanted to give you a sense of what that has involved.

Introducing Healthy Working Environments initiative

May 3, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Like me, perhaps you have lately observed a surge of headlines, reports and journal articles like these: "Why focusing on professional burnout is not enough", "Task force launched to tackle sexual harassment", "Addressing gender equity and diversity in Canada’s medical profession", "Understanding how patients perceive physician wellness and its links to patient care", "Most doctors have little or no management training, and that’s a problem." Almost a year ago, the AMA Board sat down at our annual business planning retreat and considered the convergence of these issues – in both our profession and society at large. Respect. Diversity. Inclusion. Leadership. Wellness. All of these things are relevant to AMA members and absolutely necessary if we are to play a leadership role in the system.

An Update on Income Equity Initiative and Overhead Study

April 25, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In the March 25 President’s Letter, I wrote to you about the overhead (office expenses) study under the Income Equity Initiative. Concerns have been raised by the Representative Forum and sections about the results provided by Deloitte. In response, the Board has formed a small working group with delegates from the Specialty Care Alliance and sections of General Practice and Rural Medicine. The working group will review what has been provided and then recommend (i) what, if any, elements of the study are usable and (ii) next steps for ensuring usable overhead information for use in the IEI.

RF Highlights

March 25, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: An excellent Representative Forum was held March 15-16 in Calgary. I’m writing to give you a brief summary of what happened. You’ll hear more on these topics in future letters.

MyHealth Records has launched

March 20, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In December 2018 we wrote to you from the Alberta Medical Association and College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta to let you know that the Alberta government would soon be introducing MyHealth Records, a secure online portal that will enable Albertans to access some of their personal health information. We are pleased to tell you that the portal went live for all Albertans on Saturday, March 16.

Funds flowing to Alberta – Well Doc Alberta is first initiative under CMA-AMA MOU

March 12, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In our February 21 joint President’s Letter, we announced that the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) and Canadian Medical Association (CMA) established a new collaboration – outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding – to align activities and partner on joint initiatives that advance our shared priorities.

Retro BCP payments and other physician compensation news

February 28, 2019

Just as physicians cannot help patients achieve their best health by focusing on only one aspect of being healthy, similarly, in overseeing the AMA’s work toward financial health, the Board must take a comprehensive approach.

AMA-CMA relationship

February 21, 2019

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We’re pleased to announce that the Alberta Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association are establishing a new partnership, which is outlined in a principle-based Memorandum of Understanding.

About retroactive payments to physicians

December 19, 2018

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In my December 6 President’s Letter, I wrote that members would soon receive retroactive payments for the April 1, 2017 Schedule of Medical Benefits cost of living adjustments. These payments have now been issued by Alberta Health for the April 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018 claims period.

AMHSP physicians – a vote and a new council

December 12, 2018

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Recent changes in Alberta Medical Association governance and the passage of legislation on the rights of physicians to representation provide important new vehicles for physicians to bring their issues forward. The focus of this President’s Letter is on those academic physicians who are or soon will be part of the Academic Medicine Health Services Plan, and who now have the ability to request direct support in negotiations from the AMA.

SOMB retroactive increases coming this week

December 6, 2018

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: This fall, we have been moving forward on making payments owed to physicians under our Amending Agreement. The AMA issued the 2017 Retention Benefit payments on Friday, November 2. Today I’m writing to provide you with some dates and details about the retroactive payments for the Schedule of Medical Benefits and Alternative Relationship Plans cost-of-living adjustment.

An Act to Protect Patients

November 16, 2018

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: You may have heard news reports last week that the Government of Alberta had tabled Bill 21, An Act to Protect Patients. The legislation guards patients against exposure to inappropriate or predatory sexual behavior from their care providers. It applies to all regulated health professions, including physicians. The bill passed at the end of last week and is expected to come into effect in April 2019.

AMA legislation tabled today

November 1, 2018

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: You may recall that one of the important provisions of the 2018-20 AMA agreement with government was a commitment to entrench physician recognition and representation rights within legislation. I am pleased to let you know that this legislation was tabled today.

Changes to AMA/CMA member dues

October 18, 2018

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I’m writing today as membership renewal notices have been arriving in member inboxes. There are some member dues changes and I wanted to provide a few comments about them for your information.

AMA-CMA relationship and conjoint dues

October 1, 2018

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Representative Forum had another successful meeting on September 21 and 22 in Calgary. Today, I am writing to update you on an important RF session regarding the relationship between the AMA and the Canadian Medical Association; including the question of continuing conjoint membership dues with the CMA.

A new president's thoughts on the year ahead

September 25, 2018

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: My year as president-elect flew by and on Saturday I assumed the position of president of the Alberta Medical Association. I wanted to share just a few thoughts as I begin my term.

Thoughts at the end of my presidency

September 23, 2018

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Wow! That went fast! I was told when I became president that the year would go by very quickly and even still I am blown away by how quickly it has completely disappeared on me. This has been altogether the most rewarding, challenging, exciting, sobering, ego-pumping, humbling and educational experience of my life.

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