President's Letter

Dr. Fredrykka Rinaldi, Alberta Medical Association President

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 post a public comment.

You may also contact the AMA President by email at

For older issues of the President's Letter, visit the President's Letter archive.

President's LettersRSS

Election over; no time to waste

May 30, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The United Conservative Party has won the provincial election and will form the government until 2027. I have written today to Premier Smith to congratulate her on the outcome of the vote.

Parties respond to AMA questions

May 24, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The final component of our election information program is hearing from the two major parties in response to the questions we posed in our seven-topic Handle With Care series. You can find their answers here.

Watch party leaders at AMA's health care town hall

May 23, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Last night the AMA hosted a virtual patient town hall about health care with Ms. Danielle Smith and Ms. Rachel Notley. The video is now available for viewing. More than 2,200 patients joined the virtual event on a long weekend Monday evening.

Hard times, anger, but we will remain united!

May 19, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Every day, angry and frustrated members write to me about their financial challenges. I understand. I have the same issues. But we are the AMA. We don’t approach challenges as an organized labor group would. Negotiating fair and competitive compensation is a most important Key Result Area, but we seek to do this in a way that benefits patient care. We are more than dollars and cents in a contract. We seek value for patients and fairness for physicians.

Election issue 7: Primary Care

May 11, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today we release the final issue of our election information program Handle With Care. The primary care profile addresses: the state of family medicine; the need to sustainably support clinics and family physicians that are in crisis; and the value of providing every Albertan with a medical home.

Election issue 6: Drug Poisoning Crisis

May 5, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Recent years have caused at-risk individuals in cities and towns to become homeless or lose access to support for substance use disorders or mental illness. While they have struggled to get the help they need, increasingly toxic street drugs have taken a horrible toll. We lost 1,498 vulnerable Albertans in 2022 to unintentional drug poisoning. In 2019 that number was 626.

Celebrating National Physicians’ Day; initial thoughts on MAPS statement

May 1, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today is National Physicians’ Day. A day to celebrate the contributions of the extraordinary people who choose to serve in the medical profession. Also, Ministter of Health Jason Copping has released a statement on the final reports from the Modernizing Alberta's Primary Health Care System (MAPS) initiative. While we have yet to see the full report, we do have some preliminary comments to share with members.

Election issue 5: Indigenous health

April 28, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The most recent issue in our Handle with Care election information program explores Indigenous health. By almost every measure, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Alberta experience poorer health outcomes as a result of ongoing health inequities and barriers to care. This is evident in higher rates of chronic illness, mental health challenges and addiction. It’s unacceptable that this reality persists in 2023.

Family medicine spots still unfilled in Alberta

April 27, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) reported an unprecedented number of unfilled family medicine spaces in Alberta in their round one match this year. Unfortunately, the second round of matching has filled only 20 of the 42 vacancies.

Funds offered through CII/CPAR Acceleration Grant now available

April 24, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Community Information Integration and Central Patient Attachment Registry (CII/CPAR) enables physicians and their teams to share patient information to Alberta Netcare directly from their electronic medical record (EMR).

Election issue 4: Rural health care

April 21, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The latest issue in our Handle with Care election information program is Rural Health Care. Pick almost any topic in health care and you will find the environment is more complicated or resources more scarce in rural settings. It’s the nature of rural medicine but it’s more difficult than ever right now.

JPAC Gratitude Program

April 20, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Joint Physician Advocacy Committee seeks to understand member issues in practice and advises the AMA on our advocacy activities. JPAC has found that while there are many things that physicians need as professionals, we also have needs as individuals.

Election issue 3: Pediatric mental health still poor

April 11, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The third issue of the AMA’s election information campaign is Pediatric Mental Health. This care deficit issue deserves a lot of attention.

AHS payments need consistency and structure

April 6, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The AMA Agreement package includes an AMA-Alberta Health Services Memorandum of Understanding with an Engagement Framework for physician compensation in AHS facilities. The AMA has been advocating for this approach, including: consistent, transparent principles; structure that guides policy according to system objectives; clear roles and responsibilities; physician engagement; and dispute resolution.

Year one allocation complete; new SOMB posted

April 3, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Alberta Health sent a bulletin today letting physicians know that the year one allocation has been completed and a new Schedule of Medical Benefits has been issued. These changes are already reflected in the AMA’s Fee Navigator® and we’ve put together background information, including a short video, about the allocation process.

Election issue 2: Health Human Resources

March 31, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Last week we launched our pre-election information program to help keep health care front and center during the election. There are seven main issues that are important to physicians and their patients. Today we release the second issue: Health Human Resources. We conclude with three key questions for candidates and political parties to answer.

Members react re CaRMS

March 30, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I’ve received many emails from members regarding the first round CaRMS results.

CaRMS numbers alarming

March 27, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The first round CaRMS numbers from last week are alarming. We have 42 unmatched family medicine residency positions in Alberta. In BC there are two; in Saskatchewan, none.

2022 Medical Liability Reimbursement top-up payments

March 27, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I am writing to share with you information about the 2022 Medical Liability Reimbursement top-up payments that will be issued shortly by Alberta Health.

Election program launches today

March 24, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today we launch a public information program to help ensure that health care remains front and center for Albertans in the coming provincial election. We hope it will help them to consider their own expectations from the system. We will be communicating via website and social media and to members via President’s Letters.

2022-23 CME Program now open

March 23, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The 2022-23 Continuing Medical Education Program provides a benefit of $2,200 per physician and is administered by the AMA. This program reimburses CME expenses incurred between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023.

MAPS virtual session

March 17, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Government is moving forward with the Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System (MAPS) initiative. The AMA is fortunate to have strong representation from physician leaders in the work that is being done. Further announcements are expected soon.

Post-RF update

March 15, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Representative Forum held a productive two-day meeting March 10 and 11 in Calgary. Read more about the major topics discussed.

Anti-Indigenous bias

March 6, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Following media reports on a study that identified explicit anti-Indigenous bias among some Alberta physicians, I have released a statement.

The crisis is not over

March 3, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Members have commented about a recent media event with the Premier, Minister of Health and Alberta Health Services Official Administrator. At this public relations event the OA outlined progress on his mandated tasks relating to reduced surgical wait times, emergency room wait times and emergency medical services response times.

Budget response

March 1, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Yesterday’s budget includes new funds for a health care system under stress, but it is difficult to determine how much.

Health care in the provincial budget and election

February 27, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The two major parties have both released statements about primary health care. Polling suggests that health care will dominate the general election (May 29 or earlier) and the provincial budget (Tuesday, February 28).

ARP retro payments

February 24, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: There is a new Alberta Health Bulletin regarding 2022-23 retroactive payments for physicians in clinical alternative relationship plans, Academic Medicine Health Services Program, sessional clinical alternative relationship plans and Blended Capitation Model. Each category has a payment schedule that is explained in the bulletin.

MAPS announcement first reaction

February 21, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Government has announced short-term proposals from the Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Health Care System (MAPS) initiative and funding for primary care in the provincial budget.

Board thoughts about MAPS

February 20, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The MAPS initiative, an Alberta Health initiative involving numerous professions and organizations, is progressing. I thank the expert physician leaders who have worked for months to develop AMA proposals to improve the primary care system.

How does the system work?

February 10, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Joint Physician Advocacy Committee advises the Alberta Medical Association about our public advocacy. They have suggested that the AMA should tell the public more about how the system works, what’s happening and how physicians contribute.

Federal funding announcement

February 8, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Yesterday the federal government announced a proposed new health funding framework with the provinces and territories, prioritizing primary care, health workforce wellness, health human resources and innovation toward sustainability.

Board digging into your issues

February 2, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: There are always many things going on in the AMA and I like to keep you informed about our current priorities even if the next steps or outcomes are still unknown.

MAPS Innovation Forum update

January 24, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Modernizing Alberta's Primary Health Care System (MAPS) initiative has been set up to recommend short- and long-term actions to strengthen primary health care in Alberta.

Tracking the care deficit

January 13, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today I am releasing our latest tracking data on the care deficit and the impact on patient care disrupted by the pandemic. This survey took place in November 2022 and we have been tracking the care deficit since summer 2021.

Recognizing our Past President

January 6, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Please join me in congratulating Dr. Warren on being recognized with a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.

First retroactive fee-for-service payments coming January 13

January 5, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The first of two fee-for-service retroactive payments for the 2022-23 fiscal year will be deposited January 13, 2023.

Independent pharmacist clinics weaken comprehensive care

January 3, 2023

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I have heard from many of you with concerns about the increasing number of independent pharmacist clinics in the province. This is an important issue.

Thank you and well done

December 23, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In these last days of 2022, the Board of Directors has one message for the membership of the Alberta Medical Association: You are all heroes.

Section 40.2 is struck down

December 20, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Government tabled legislation December 5 to repeal Section 40.2 of the Alberta Health Care Insurance Act. This regulation enabled termination of the AMA agreement. Government committed to eliminating that provision as part of its commitments under the AMA agreement.

Special thanks to the Canadian Medical Association

December 19, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I want to share with you a letter of thanks that was sent to the Canadian Medical Association on behalf of all members of the AMA last week.

BCP rate goes up tomorrow

December 15, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The agreement provides for an increase of the Business Costs Program rate from $2.95 to $3.59. This change goes into effect tomorrow, December 16. Current BCP program assessment rules remain the same.

One-time payment coming - Three things to know and do

December 14, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The one-time payment will be issued by end of December. Most physicians will be eligible for the full payment. To receive your payment, you must renew your membership if you haven't already done so.

Alert! Apply by January 27 for 2021-22 CME expenses

December 6, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Currently there are two separate Continuing Medical Education (CME) benefit programs to consider. Physicians have until January 27, 2023 to submit their claim for the $2,100 benefit for expenses incurred between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

Repealing 40.2

December 5, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today government has tabled legislation to repeal Section 40.2 of the Alberta Health Care Insurance Act. This regulation enabled termination of the AMA agreement and its repeal was a commitment by government under the new agreement.

Effective December 1, daily cap on services is removed

December 1, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In case you missed it, Alberta Health sent a bulletin earlier announcing that effective December 1 (today), the daily cap on the number of services a physician can fully bill for will be officially lifted.

Program details you need to read

November 24, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I wrote to you briefly on November 2 and more details are now available. I have noted below things that you need to know or do at this time. For those who want to read more, links are provided for each item.

Daily cap temporarily removed, lump sum payment details

November 21, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Since our agreement with government was ratified, we have been making progress on various pieces of implementation. Today, in a joint news conference with the minister, we announced that there will no longer be a daily cap on the number of services a physician can fully bill for.

Administrator replaces AHS Board

November 17, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today the government announced that the Board of Directors of Alberta Health Services has been replaced by an administrator. We thank the AHS board for their service.

Advocacy for continued precautions in virus season

November 15, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As school settles in and respiratory viruses surge, the AMA has been advocating on social media platforms to encourage Albertans to take preventive precautions, including masking in crowded venues and, vaccination for COVID and seasonal influenza.

Quick update on Board activity

November 10, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Board of Directors met October 27-28. It was a full agenda focused on implementing the new agreement and the implications for AMA business planning. I’ve written since then regarding some payments arising from the agreement.

Rep needed on AMA agreement committees

November 4, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Representatives are needed for two newly formed committees: the Management Committee and Rates Committee.

A very short update: programs and payments

November 2, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: This letter is for those who prefer very brief updates. Read on for information on items that members have inquired about.

Acknowledging all that you have done

October 31, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Board of Directors met Thursday and Friday, September 27-28. This was our first meeting since the new agreement was ratified and an opportunity for assessing where we are and why as we move into implementation.

Airdrie: An urgent care situation

October 21, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As we adjust to the welcome realities of a post-negotiation environment and having an agreement with government, I want to assure you that our advocacy work will continue. Our health care system is still under immense pressure. As physicians, we have a responsibility to help Albertans understand what is happening and what is at stake. Our Care Deficit Assessment Series (CDAS) has explored some of those system-wide issues, including the crisis in emergency departments, children’s mental health and care of the elderly.

The year ahead and my three priorities

October 11, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As I begin my term as president, I would like to thank the membership of the AMA for your vote of confidence. This is an honour that I certainly wouldn’t have expected myself. Hopefully, I will prove worthy.

UCP leadership vote concludes today

October 6, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: At Monday’s Annual General Meeting, I began my term as AMA president. It is a privilege to face this year with you as we begin a new agreement with government in the midst of an ongoing health care storm. There are many priorities, but I believe there are three key things that will be essential, and I will write to you again in the next few days to comment further on these.

It has been an honour to serve you

October 4, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: When I became president of the AMA in September 2021, I was told that the year would go by fast, yet I am still astonished at how quickly it has gone. Serving as AMA president has been altogether the most challenging, humbling experience of my life.

Members have ratified agreement

September 28, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Voting closed today at 4 p.m. for the 2022-26 agreement package just negotiated with government. I am pleased to report that members ratified it with a “Yes” vote from 70.2% of responding physicians. (Voter turnout was 45.8%. While turnout was higher for the package that members rejected in 2021, today’s result is significantly higher than recent ratifications.)

Leadership candidates answer our questions; your vote on potential agreement

September 21, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: You may recall that I have been engaging with the seven candidates for the leadership of the United Conservative Party in recent weeks. I have met now with five and meetings are booked for the remaining two.

Advocacy for drug poisoning crisis; various voting reminders

September 19, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Members tell the AMA that one of the most important things we do is help the public better understand the health care system from the front lines. As promised in my letter last week, advocacy will continue as members consider the potential agreement package and beyond the vote, regardless of the outcome. This advocacy work helps focus attention on critical health issues so we can work together to ensure Albertans receive the care they need, when and where they need it.

Members will vote on a potential agreement

September 9, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Alberta physicians will vote on a potential agreement package that has been negotiated between the Alberta Medical Association and the ministry of Alberta Health.

Board calls Special RF

August 31, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As I’ve noted in recent letters, our negotiators continue efforts to reach a new agreement with government. The last six weeks have seen a significant push and the Board of Directors met last night to review the most recent progress.

Advocacy update and how you can assist

August 26, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We have been actively advocating on a number of fronts in recent weeks. I hope you saw the report I shared last week about what patients who are waiting for care told us about their experiences. This initiative, supported by the Joint Physician Advocacy Committee, will continue in the months ahead and we will report again on what we learn. data; thoughts on scopes of practice

August 19, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In May we launched a public survey on our website. Good information about what patients experience around the province is needed but lacking. We promised to report publicly on what patients tell us.

Health care questions for leadership candidates

August 12, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I wrote to you in late July about ways in which the AMA would be engaging in the leadership race for the United Conservative Party. The Board believes that a new premier must have a strong vision and a plan for addressing health care’s greatest challenges.

Alberta’s new leader needs a plan for health care

July 29, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I wrote to members recently to advise that the AMA would be engaging with the candidates who are running for leadership of the United Conservative Party. We discussed this at last week’s Board meeting, and today I'm sharing our plans with you.

What patients say about emergency departments and what it means

July 22, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Our third Care Deficit Assessment Series issue paper regarding emergency departments described the current situation in emergency medicine. Today we bring the voice of patients to that discussion from our June survey, which explored patient experiences in the ED.

Provincial leadership race is here

July 18, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: This week marks the application deadline for any individuals interested in running for the leadership of the United Conservative Party of Alberta.

Update on negotiations; the care deficit hangs on

July 15, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Since I last wrote to you about negotiations at the end of May, there have been continuous efforts underway. This included regular formal meetings of the negotiating teams and informal follow-up discussions to exchange additional information or to provide clarification between meetings.

Roe v. Wade decision an attack on women’s right to health

June 24, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling. While we have anticipated this possibility with dread, the actual overturning of this decades-old jurisprudence decision on abortion is much worse for women of our neighbouring nation. It may be a harbinger of further erosion of equity, diversity and inclusion in that society. The immediate effects will be felt most keenly by already marginalized populations.

No changes to stipend programs on June 30

June 21, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We know many physicians are affected by the upcoming June 30 planned deadline for stipend contracts. Via a joint statement this morning, government and the Alberta Medical Association are announcing that “no action will be taken on June 30, 2022, with respect to Alberta Health Services (AHS) stipends or AHS overhead.

Further progress toward income equity

June 17, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I’m writing today to provide members with an update on the Income Equity Initiative. A comprehensive physician compensation framework remains a key priority for the AMA. We have kept our commitment to membership and have continued our work on income equity so that we can be ready to incorporate it into possible outcomes of an agreement, such as allocation of new monies.

Care Deficit and Dermatology

June 14, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today I am sharing a new issue in the Care Deficit Assessment Series. Issue 5 Dermatology is an interesting example of the care deficit manifesting in specialized care with the potential to affect many patients.

Parents need help; Alberta Cancer Care docs vote

June 1, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Pediatric mental health has emerged as one of the primary concerns of the current care deficit. As colleagues who care for children tell us, these patients are distressed. Adding to that toll are the families and friends of unwell children who are their support networks, themselves dragged into stress, anxiety and ill health by the burden of caregiving.

Negotiations, waiting patients, member survey

May 30, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We have kept the Representative Forum up to date on details of negotiations with government for a new agreement. Your leaders have heard that the interests-based approach to negotiations has allowed us some progress. The physician interests brought forward by the AMA still hold true to what members have told us really matters for patients, practices and the profession.

AMA continues to advocate for physician and patient interests in Connect Care rollout

May 26, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The biggest Connect Care launch to date (Wave 4) is happening on May 28, at sites in both the Edmonton and Calgary zones. Connect Care is the clinical information system that will house all AHS medical records, prescriptions and care history at AHS facilities. While impact to physicians practicing in AHS facilities is to be expected, it’s important to remember that these systemic changes will also impact the flow of information to community physicians, and there is a risk of adverse outcomes to patients if this flow is interrupted.

Emergency Departments under strain; something for patients

May 20, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I wrote to you a few days ago to report on the May 13-14 Representative Forum, talk about our advocacy with patients and system partners and highlight that the next paper in our Care Deficit Assessment Series is coming out. Today I am releasing that paper.

Report from RF: Urgent care needed for system

May 17, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Representative Forum met Friday and Saturday (May 13-14) and received updates, deliberated and provided direction regarding government discussions and the Income Equity Initiative.

Heading into Spring RF; advocacy for care of the elderly

May 12, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Spring Representative Forum, Part Two will take place at the end of this week (May 13-14).

Women's Health in the Care Deficit - Issue 2 in our series

May 2, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today I am releasing a new topic in the AMA’s Care Deficit Assessment Series Issue Papers.

Keep yourself informed on negotiations

April 12, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On Tuesday, April 5 we held a webinar to update members on the status of negotiations with Alberta Health for a new agreement. As promised, the presentation portion of the webinar was recorded (member login required) for those unable to attend.

Joint AMA-AH statement:

April 1, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Update on physician negotiations — joint statement from Minister of Health Jason Copping and Alberta Medical Association president Dr. Michelle Warren

Providing care to Ukrainian evacuees and a negotiations webinar

March 30, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As Alberta welcomes displaced Ukrainians – with hundreds more expected to arrive in the coming weeks – I know as physicians we will do everything we can to enable their access to care until they can safely return home or permanently relocate to Canada.

Stipend changes paused during AMA-AH negotiations

March 27, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The AMA has continued to raise stipends, AHS overhead charges and other issues with Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services with the goal of bringing all aspects of compensation to the broader negotiations table so they can be dealt with through a comprehensive physician compensation framework. To do this, however, both parties needed to agree to not make any changes to the status quo while negotiations are occurring.

Enhanced virtual care codes improve access to mental health care

March 25, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I am pleased to inform you that today the AMA and Alberta Health are jointly announcing changes to virtual care billing codes that will allow psychiatrists to provide additional virtual care.

A new phase of advocacy

March 24, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As promised, a new phase of AMA advocacy is beginning to help Albertans better understand what is happening in health care in Alberta. We are also hoping to identify ideas – with partners and stakeholders – for resolution, innovation and solutions.

The RF: Negotiations, a webinar and income equity

March 18, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Virtual Spring Representative Forum Part One was held March 11. The Spring RF Part Two will be held May 13-14 in person, COVID-state permitting. In this letter I want to share the March 11 highlights.

Move AHS overhead charges to the table

March 2, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I am writing to share my concerns and AMA’s response regarding a letter that was sent yesterday to physicians from Alberta Health Services. AHS is providing notice that on July 1, 2022, it will implement a framework “for assessing and recovering physician overhead costs that will be a consistent approach for AHS physician overhead across all zones, and in all facilities; urban, regional and rural. Note: Timelines are subject to pandemic response.”

Alberta budget; Engaging on negotiations, income equity and advocacy

February 25, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Yesterday, government released its 2022-23 budget which featured substantial investment in health care. It is good to see government paying attention to health care in a concrete fashion. I also appreciate references made in budget documents to interest-based negotiations with physicians, and our common interests such as quality of care, health care sustainability and stability of physician practices.

Enhanced virtual care codes news, negotiations update

February 16, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Yesterday, Alberta Health released a bulletin informing physicians that effective February 15, 2022, all eligible claims for enhanced virtual care codes can now be submitted to AH’s claims system.

About restriction changes and negotiations begin

February 10, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As I was writing this letter, the province’s changes to public health restrictions were announced. I did several media interviews on this announcement.

Advocating to heal our health system and JPAC on the job

February 3, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In our last survey we asked members what they want from the AMA. They expect representation and negotiations, but also want advocacy to explain the state of health care to Albertans.

Discussions with government enter a new phase

January 20, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Discussions between the AMA and government are entering a new stage. There is a joint statement that will be issued today.

Enhanced virtual care code bulletin now posted

January 12, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Alberta Health Bulletin for enhanced virtual care codes has now been published.

Update - Alberta Health bulletin on virtual care code changes

January 7, 2022

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I have heard from many physicians since the announcement of changes to virtual code priority items (time for indirect care and complex modifiers). Like me, they were happy to hear the news that these codes will be available, but urgently needing the details in an accompanying Alberta Health Bulletin.

Priority virtual care codes to increase

December 30, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I am pleased to tell you about some changes to virtual care fee codes that are coming into effect January 1, 2022. They will be announced today in a joint news release from government and the Alberta Medical Association. As I’ve mentioned in past letters, a working group involving Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta and the AMA has been looking at both short- and long-term considerations around virtual care. Among other issues, the AMA has been advocating for changes to the virtual care fee schedule to make the provision of virtual care more financially sustainable.

Member survey results and an urgent Omicron meeting

December 22, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As 2021 ends, it seemed a good time to provide feedback on what we heard through our August member survey when we asked: What can the AMA do for you?

The care deficit: Preparing to seek solutions

December 15, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In recent months we have opened a dialogue with Albertans about the COVID-19 care deficit, its effects and possible solutions. We’ve all seen the increasingly frequent news reports about the care deficit and the public has weighed in through to help us understand the ways in which they've been affected. We have shared how physicians are feeling in terms of dealing with the care deficit in our patient populations.

Stipends delay allows time for a comprehensive approach

December 10, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Physicians working in Alberta Health Services facilities, particularly those involved with programs that are remunerated by AHS stipend arrangements, will probably have seen a December 8 email from Dr. Francois Belanger, AHS Vice President, Quality and Chief Medical Officer. His email confirmed that an extension has been granted to many AHS clinical stipend programs so that they will not be ending December 31.

Z-code deadline delayed

December 3, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: For many physicians the January 1, 2022 date for implementation of the proposed Z-codes and Alberta Health Services overhead policy was a great concern. Yesterday, Alberta Health released a bulletin stating that the implementation date for both of these items is being delayed: Z-codes to October 2022 and AHS overhead targeted for June 2022. We have been actively advocating on these issues and I am pleased to know that so many members who are already struggling with so many challenges will have a reprieve.

The value of appreciation

November 25, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: After many months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are physically and professionally tired. Let’s take opportunities when they come to lift ourselves up by celebrating accomplishments.

Update on government negotiations

November 15, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Board of Directors last met October 28-29. The ongoing discussions with government toward seeking a new agreement were a major focus of the meeting. Over the past year we have invited physician leaders to join us for these sessions to enrich the Board’s discussions. Once again, we were very appreciative of the time and engagement of these representatives .

Physicians on care deficit and a response from AHS

October 29, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: During Dr. Paul Boucher’s term as president, he wrote to you several times regarding the COVID-19 care deficit. He shared with you what Albertans have told the AMA about their experiences. It’s time to hear from some physician voices, also.

Latest news on stipends

October 21, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: For many months now we have been working to support members with respect to Alberta Health Services stipend payments. As members know, Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services have said they will be ending stipend contracts with over 120 groups of physicians on December 31. So far, there has been little productive discussion on developing agreeable, viable alternatives.

A call for stronger measures to combat COVID-19

October 7, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: At the Fall Representative Forum, we received clear direction from RF delegates that the AMA needed to strongly – and publicly – advocate for a stronger response to the COVID-19 crisis Alberta is facing. In response to the most urgent motion passed at RF, we issued a media release on September 27 calling on government to institute a "fire-breaker," to aggressively control COVID-19 cases.

Forging ahead: Inaugural thoughts from the new AMA president

October 1, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In this letter: thanks to outgoing president, Dr. Paul Boucher; strong AMA stance on COVID-19; and discussions with government.

Outgoing thoughts on a complex year

September 29, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: This President’s Letter is my last as AMA president and marks the official end of a term that was as unpredictable as it was eventful.

Alberta must act now: AMA calls for COVID-19 "fire-breaker" measures

September 27, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As you are aware, the 2021 Fall Representative Forum was held this past weekend and, unsurprisingly, COVID-19 and the current crisis we are facing in Alberta was a topic of major discussion. Delegates passed several related motions (I will update members on the details of these later), but I wanted to share with you the most urgent motion on which we have already taken action.

Harm reduction; we can't afford to wait

September 22, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In the midst of the chaos of the fourth wave of COVID-19, we must not forget the vulnerable and disadvantaged. There are many individuals in need, but I refer today to those trapped in the opioid crisis.

Update on Negotiations

September 15, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As reported in my Presidents Letters over the summer, government requested that the Alberta Medical Association submit a proposal for possible changes that would make the rejected Tentative Agreement Package (TAP) acceptable to physicians.

Wave Four: More measures needed and other issues

September 14, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We are hearing more every day about the implications of the fourth wave of the pandemic and I wanted to update you.

Special RF information session; COVID-19

September 8, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In this letter: a special Representative Forum this week; looking out for each other in the fourth wave.

News: Discussions with government; vaccination policy

August 24, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I am writing to let you know about two decisions reached at a special meeting of the Board of Directors held on August 19.

Care Deficit: Broad thinking will be required

August 20, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I have previously shared with you some research from our online community regarding the impact that the COVID pandemic has had on their health and well being.

Paper on government discussions and a member survey

August 11, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In this letter: Informed by your feedback, a paper for your review about the Board’s approach to government discussions; and We launch a survey to look further into how members are faring.

Board meeting update and upcoming member engagement

August 4, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Board of Directors met July 22-23. I intended to provide you with an update on what was discussed at the end of last week. This was overtaken by the issue of Alberta’s changed public health restrictions, so I am providing the update today.

Significant concerns: Changes to COVID-19 measures

July 30, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On July 28, Alberta Health announced significant changes in the public health measures for COVID-19. I have written to the Minister regarding my concerns, and I want to share these points with you.

Masking in community clinics

July 16, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I have heard from a number of members who are concerned with potential implications for their clinics arising from the lifting of mandatory continuous masking. The public health order was maintained for Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health and long-term care facilities, but not for other clinical settings.

Patient's access to lab results; the remaining 5% and your practice

July 9, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In this letter: What’s changing with patient access to sensitive lab results; what you may need to consider; how to learn more and be prepared with a July 21 webinar.

A joint announcement with government and continued member engagement

July 2, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In this letter: an announcement arising from priority discussions between government and the AMA.

Supporting physicians impacted by changes to AHS-paid stipends

June 21, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In this letter: Update on representation surrounding the end of stipends in Alberta Health Services; Stipend Action Committee; New clinical Alternative Relationship Plan information source for members.

COVID-19 and our patients - a checkup

June 11, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As many of you are aware, as part of our advocacy and engagement with the public, we host an online patient community:

What We Heard: Member Feedback on the Tentative Agreement Package

June 2, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I committed to reporting back to you about what we heard from the membership during the ratification period for the Tentative Agreement Package. Today, I am pleased to share the conclusions with you.

Residential Schools

June 1, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: News that the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered in a mass grave at a former residential school in Kamloops has drawn attention to a dreadful legacy of the residential school system. This is not an isolated incident: graves have been found at other former school sites, including in Alberta. The search for these is still incomplete.

Rural Health Week

May 28, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As we come to the end of the 2021 Rural Health Week, I wanted to take the opportunity to add my voice to the celebration of rural health care in this province.

Updates on key areas

May 26, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: This is to provide you with an update on several activities being undertaken by the Alberta Medical Association.

Further information on mask exemption order

May 21, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As you are aware, on May 13 government released a new public health order stipulating that medical exemptions for mask use will be allowed for a list of “verified health conditions,” and that an exemption letter will be required from a physician, nurse practitioner or psychologist.

Mask exemptions, Building AMA strength from within

May 14, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Yesterday, government released a new public health order stipulating that medical exemptions for mask use will be allowed for a list of “verified health conditions.”

New public health restrictions, AHS stipends

May 7, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The new public health restrictions put in place this week have been welcomed by the broader medical community.

Recognizing National Physicians' Day

April 30, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Canadians have fervently expressed their thanks to all health professionals during this pandemic year. As physicians, we have been quick to recognize all team members who are working alongside of us.

Discussion with Minister, federal COVID support

April 19, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The April meeting of the Board of Directors took place last week. This was our first opportunity to gather since the vote and we spent two days discussing the challenges facing our members, patients and system, and how to best address them.

Vaccine in community clinics, a shout out to Laboratory Medicine

April 14, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I’ve written a few times about the work to involve community-based family physicians in delivery of COVID-19 vaccine.

Reporting on feedback, fixing virtual care

April 13, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I’ve appreciated all the emails and conversations since my last President’s Letter. Many of you have shared your thoughts and hopes for the future.

More eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine announced

April 12, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As I am sure many of you have heard, Alberta Health announced that Phase 2C of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out begins today.

The No Vote + two days

April 1, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: To avoid days of silence at an important time, I wanted to write again before what will be a short break for many.

Members voted No on Tentative Agreement Package

March 30, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The membership has voted No to the Tentative Agreement Package between the Alberta Medical Association and the provincial government. 53% of members who voted, voted no and 47% voted yes. The overall vote turnout was 59% – which is considerably higher than for recent agreements. Thank you, members, for engaging in this important vote. Results were to be released March 31, but due to some early media coverage, we are releasing them this evening.

Ratification vote will proceed: It's up to you now

March 6, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As I announced in my February 26 President’s Letter, a Tentative Agreement Package has been reached with the provincial government.

Update on tentative agreement status

March 3, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I have received comments and questions from many members regarding a tentative agreement with government.

A tentative agreement with government has been reached

February 26, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As you know, discussions with government have been ongoing continuously since the Fall. I am pleased to tell you that we have reached a tentative agreement package arising from the negotiations.

PFSP value, staying well and the importance of advocacy

February 19, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Much like our colleagues on the frontlines everywhere, feelings of distress are common amongst physicians.

Voting now open for 2022-23 CMA President-Elect from Alberta

February 12, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In 2022 an Alberta physician will become president of the Canadian Medical Association.

Whistleblowers, seniors care: the AMA weighs in

February 10, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In a year that in many ways has been so unusual, we sometimes forget that “the usual” continues, too.

Leveraging all we've got in the COVID fight

February 7, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Efficiently vaccinating Albertans against COVID-19 will be a monumental task that will only be accomplished with careful planning and intersectoral collaboration.

Vaccine: A forced pause, a chance for clarity

January 28, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The development of COVID-19 vaccines has brought together some of the brightest minds around the globe and made history by getting vaccines approved and to market within a year.

AHS and March 31: Access for patients, fairness for physicians

January 25, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As I'm sure most of you are aware, AHS has indicated that stipends for contracted services will end.

More lab results coming online for patients

January 13, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As of February 5, more lab results will be accessible to Albertans through the My Health Records (MHR) portal.

COVID – We must stay the course

January 7, 2021

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Last week we welcomed in 2021. While the new year often sparks feelings of hope, I met the new year with a sigh of relief that 2020 was over. There is, of course, the optimism provided by the vaccine, but it is tempered by the prospect of a long year ahead that will involve many challenges related to the ongoing pandemic. The end of the year was difficult for many of us, isolated from family, trying to carry on traditions in new ways and, for many, dealing with the financial burden the pandemic has brought to bear.

Z-codes, AMA updates you need

December 23, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As this letter was completed, we were advised that Alberta Health has decided to postpone the implementation of new rates for Z codes, initially scheduled for January 1.

Government review cARP & academic medicine plus AMA info session on stipends

December 22, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As discussions continue with government towards a negotiated agreement, new payment models are emerging and are being offered to physicians.

Evidence of the COVID-19 care deficit

December 17, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As we settle into a new phase of restrictions to check the spread COVID-19, I wanted to write to you about the impact of the pandemic on patient care and the health care system.

My letter to Albertans and a new tool to better understand members

December 11, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Some of you may have seen the letter I wrote to Albertans urging them to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

COVID vigilance, vaccination survey and update on government discussions

December 7, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I wrote to you on November 26 about the explosive rates of COVID-19 in Alberta and the new measures that have been taken to slow the virus down.

COVID-19: Hard choices

November 26, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Since I wrote to you earlier this week, additional public health measures have been announced to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a lot of debate on the probable effectiveness of these plans and what needs to happen next. There is no question that tight lock downs are effective in reducing spread; we experienced it in the spring and results from other jurisdictions speak for themselves.

Worth noting: Physician health, member engagement

November 24, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We have all been watching the seemingly unabated rise in COVID-19 cases with increasing concern.

Nominate an Alberta physician for CMA President-Elect

November 19, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Every year, the Canadian Medical Association holds nominations and elections processes for the position of CMA president-elect and this year the president-elect will be chosen from Alberta.

Representation and Support in Alternative Payment Arrangements

November 13, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We have heard from many physicians since our October 2 President’s Letter about government’s decision to terminate grant funding for the AMA’s Alternative Relationship Plan Physician Support Services (ARP PSS) program.

Sunshine List due this week: How to prepare

November 3, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: About 1,300 physicians registered for an AMA webinar last Friday entitled: Living with the Sunshine List.

AMA response to CPSA consultation on job action standard

October 29, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As Dr. Christine Molnar wrote to you in September, the AMA participated in the consultation initiated by the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta regarding three standards of practice: Job Action; Closing or Leaving a Medical Practice; and Relocating a Medical Practice. The College has amended these in response to a June letter from the Minister in which he called on the CPSA to take steps that would “require physicians to mitigate the impact of withdrawal of services.”

Honors for those who serve

October 22, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Before October winds down, I wanted to write about our inaugural virtual annual general meeting of October 5.

Understanding physician supply numbers

October 9, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: You may have seen media coverage in the last 24 hours relating to the latest quarterly physician supply statistics from the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta that show a net increase in the third quarter. The CPSA noted that net increases this year have been smaller than over the last five years and recognized that we will not know the actual numbers until the end of the year

Carrying the torch: Inaugural thoughts from the new AMA president

October 7, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On Monday of this week, during our Association’s 115th Annual General Meeting, I was honoured to officially assume my position as AMA president for the 2020-21 year.

Final thoughts on a tumultuous year

October 6, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: This President’s Letter marks the end of my term as AMA president.

Uncertainty and Instability: Join the AGM to learn our plans

October 2, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We stand for and will continue to seek fairness and stability for our profession. We will survive! Never forget your power, and our united power, even in this continued climate of uncertainty and instability. This was a key theme of the September 25 and 26 virtual Fall Representative Forum.

CPSA consultation on job action standard is open

September 18, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Many of you will already have noticed that the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta has opened a consultation on their proposed standards for: job action; closing or leaving a medical practice; and relocating a medical practice. These proposals come in response to a June letter from the Minister, calling on the CPSA to take steps “to require physicians to mitigate the impact of withdrawal of services.”

Exemption for Sunshine List

September 17, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We know that many members have been anxious to learn more about the exemption process for the Physician Payment Disclosure (Sunshine List). Physician payments are due to be disclosed by November 9, 2020. We have just received notice that the application process for exemption is now open.

Update on correspondence with government

September 16, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Recently, members may have observed a few media reports regarding the status of negotiations between the AMA and provincial government. These media stories refer to what I wrote to you about in my August 21 President’s Letter: a request from the Minister to respond to a formal process of exchanging draft agreements. Our intention was to respond in writing, and we have done so.

Release of Sunshine List regulations

September 11, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On September 9, government released regulations on physician payment disclosure. The regulations are brief and lay out a 60-day disclosure date, meaning the information can be released as of Sunday, November 8, or anytime before. Transparency is important, as is accountability. Greater transparency for the public through the Sunshine List, in our view (August 10 President’s Letter), does not require the release of individual names. However, we understand from discussions with government that there is a decision to proceed with the release of our names with our gross billing data.

You are invited!

September 4, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: You are invited to the 115th Annual General Meeting of the AMA to be held on Monday, October 5 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. In this milestone year, with COVID-19 safety top of mind, we depart from tradition. This AGM will be held virtually and is therefore accessible to so many more members.

Thank you, CMA

August 27, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: This is a big shout out and THANK YOU to the Canadian Medical Association from Alberta Physicians.

Correspondence with government

August 21, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: This President’s Letter is in follow up to my President’s Letters of July 29 and July 30, which reported the results of our referendum on physician confidence in the Minister and my outreach to the Premier.

Mourning a loss together

August 12, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: It has been a dark week since the incomprehensible news of the fatal attack on our colleague, Dr. Walter Reynolds in Red Deer on Monday. The Alberta Medical Association has been in contact with local physician leaders to ensure that all members of our physician community can access assistance through the Physician and Family Support Program as we try to come to terms with such a horrific event. Let me begin with this message to every member: If you need support, asking for help is a sign of strength.

Physician payments: Telling the public what’s involved

August 10, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Minister of Health has stated that he will proceed to release a “Sunshine List” for physician payments. A law to allow this was passed in 2015, but never acted upon.

Possible changes to Health Professions Act: Self-regulation concerns

August 6, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We have received a consultation document from government regarding proposed changes to the Health Professions Act. In our assessment, some of the options presented in the discussion paper suggest a wholly new, government-led approach to licensing and complaints registration. I am sending you our initial review as some of the possible amendments are a serious threat to self-regulation of physicians if implemented.

Reaching out to the Premier

July 30, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today I have written to Premier Jason Kenney asking for his involvement in our current impasse with the Minister of Health. This action follows our Confidence Vote Referendum and the overwhelming vote of non-confidence that I announced yesterday.

An unprecedented and overwhelming vote

July 29, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The results of our referendum vote are in. There were 8,934 votes from physicians, residents and medical students across Alberta, which represents a voter turn-out of 67%. As for the results: 98% indicated they do NOT have confidence in the Minister. Over the past week, the confidence referendum was conducted with the same rigor as a contract ratification vote.

Bill 30

July 27, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Last week, Bill 30, The Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 completed second reading in the legislature. There is no doubt that this government-sponsored bill will be passed before the session ends for summer break, likely this week.

News on programs and other matters

July 24, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On Wednesday, July 22, we received an update on government’s decision-making regarding the future of the programs under the AMA grant agreement. As you are aware, since the spring and end of negotiations, the grant agreement has been unsigned, leaving all involved in limbo. Given the importance of these programs to physicians and the health care system, we have ceaselessly pushed for clarity on their future and underscored the value of retaining them within the AMA. We have now been advised of the following...

Members: Do you have confidence in the Minister?

July 21, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Today, for the first time, I am offering my President’s Letter in both video and written formats. Our relationship with the provincial government has reached an all-time low and in an emergency meeting of the Representative Forum last weekend, by an overwhelming majority, RF took the step of requesting a Confidence Vote Referendum on the Minister of Health. Over the next week, we are asking Alberta physicians to let their voices be heard on this vital matter. This is your choice and your voice. We want every single doctor across this province to have an opportunity to vote, as this grassroots direction will guide our next steps and send a strong message to government.

We are under attack

July 20, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On Saturday, a special virtual meeting of the Representative Forum was held to discuss our current situation with government. I want to thank delegates who made themselves available and provided wise counsel for the Board at this very difficult time.

Representative Forum virtual meeting tomorrow

July 17, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: To seek guidance from leaders of the profession, there will be a special virtual Representative Forum meeting tomorrow morning. The Board will share plans to keep the organization strong and focused as we work through the issues we are facing. We will also seek direction on a number of strategic options for the short and long term.

Minister letter to CPSA

July 16, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Many of you will be aware of the Minister’s letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons regarding what steps physicians may take in adjusting their practices and what he characterizes as job action. I fully support and respect the work that the College does in its mandate to protect the public, but there are great concerns with the Minister’s approach.

Taking our story public

July 15, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Those who read the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal this morning will have seen an Alberta Medical Association full page ad, releasing our most recent proposal to address government’s mandate. This proposal has been sitting with Government since Canada Day with no movement. On your behalf, I took it public.

Your Practice, Your Plans: Your Results

July 9, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent member survey “Your Practice, Your Plans: Tell Us How You’re Doing.” We had a very good response given the short timeline.

No consultation with AMA on Bill 30 development

July 8, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I have received a number of emails regarding Bill 30 and my President’s Letter from yesterday. Thank you for that feedback. It is unacceptable that the Alberta Medical Association was not consulted on the development of these significant reforms to our health care system. These impending legislative changes will have consequences for the profession and how we practice, as well as our freedom to advocate for our patient’s needs. The patient-physician relationship is at risk.

The Road; Bill 30

July 7, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Yesterday, Bill 30, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, was introduced in the legislature. Many of you have already contacted the Alberta Medical Association with concerns. The AMA was not consulted about Bill 30. Much like Bill 21, this bill introduces elements of health care reform with no transparency or consultation with important stakeholders, including the AMA. We will be evaluating the implications.

There is no room for systemic racism

July 3, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The world-wide outcry against systemic racism has resounded broadly. Canada and Alberta have been no exceptions. Within our profession, there has been commentary from the Canadian Medical Association and by the provincial associations.

Healthy Work Environments. Is Alberta on track?

June 30, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As physicians, we take the privilege of practicing medicine and our responsibility to our patients seriously. We also understand our ethical responsibility to speak up if situations arise that endanger quality care or access for our patients. We are not only stewards of health care, but function as part of an early warning system to protect the public. This is our social contract. It exists with our patients, both individually and collectively.

PPE in the community: Just the facts

June 20, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: My May 27 President's Letter addressed issues arising from government’s announcement that community physicians would no longer be provided with personal protective equipment. Since then this has been discussed extensively at the Pandemic Community Supports Working Group. Matters continue to develop, while communication to physicians about PPE has been coming from several directions. I thought it would be helpful to summarize what we know.

Good news regarding WCB and support for member wellness

June 18, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Voting closed Tuesday, June 16 for the tentative Alberta Medical Association-Workers’ Compensation Board agreement. Voting opened May 28. The proposed four-year agreement carried the endorsement of the Board of Directors and I am pleased to report that the vote was overwhelmingly positive, with 98% of voting physicians in favor of the agreement.

WCB agreement: Exercise your right!

June 12, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: June 16 update - ratification vote now closed. | The vote for the tentative WCB-AMA Agreement closes on Tuesday, June 16 at 4 p.m. and it is important that you vote now.

What the AMA offered: Real savings, real solutions

June 4, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Government claims that during negotiations, the Alberta Medical Association did not offer concrete proposals to deal with the province’s fiscal challenges. I thought members would be interested to learn more about what the AMA put forward.

Tentative AMA-WCB agreement reached, ratification vote now open

May 28, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: June 16 update - ratification vote now closed. | 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. 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.

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!

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.

In this together

May 5, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Thank you for your rapid response to the campaign AMA recently launched enabling you to encourage your MLA and Health Minister Tyler Shandro to put Patients First® and get back to the bargaining table. As of today, over 1,000 physicians have signed up and the numbers keep growing. If you haven’t had a look yet, please visit our campaign page. This phase of the campaign enables physician voices to be heard. Our next phase invites Albertans to participate.

Tell the UCP to get back to the bargaining table

May 1, 2020

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On February 20, 2020, the Minister of Health walked away from negotiations and terminated our contract. In doing so he violated the charter rights of all Alberta physicians by removing their access to independent third-party arbitration. As a result, the Alberta Medical Association launched a charter challenge against the provincial government.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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