President's Letter

Dr. Neil D.J. Cooper, President, Alberta Medical Association

The "voice of the AMA" – The President's Letter informs you about Alberta Medical Association (AMA) 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

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

Programs have differences; we value all of them

January 19, 2018

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Evolving toward a fully integrated, high performing health care system takes more than just intentions. Physician practices need to remain viable as an important part of system infrastructure. As clinicians and medical leaders, we also need support to learn different ways to work, to work with different levels of care more effectively, to take full advantage of the value of team-based care, informatics and more.

AMA priorities and themes for negotiations

January 17, 2018

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As you learned from my December 28 Negotiations Update, in spite of significant early challenges, the AMA and Alberta Health continue to negotiate a new master agreement. As always, we will respect the confidentiality of what happens at the table, but I would like to give you a flavor of what the AMA is bringing forward on your behalf.

Launching Peer Review: Information and tools for physicians

December 15, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As part of our drive for physician stewardship, the Representative Forum has supported development of a peer review mechanism. This was negotiated as part of the 2016 Amending Agreement.

Negotiations begin

December 7, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Negotiations commence this week with Alberta Health to negotiate a new master agreement. With the 2016 Amending Agreement, we saw an opportunity to help government with the province’s fiscal challenges. At the same time, we wanted to increase our influence within the system in order to improve quality of care. Physicians stepped up as leaders and we have been successful.

Supporting Academic Physicians

November 16, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In September, a President’s Letter addressed AMA advocacy around the provincial Academic Alternative Relationship Plan – now known as the Academic Medicine and Health Services Program. The AMA is not a signatory to the AMHSP. We have a seat on its operational and steering committees under our Amending Agreement.

Physician Compensation Strategy: The video

October 25, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: We have had many discussions over the last several months about the Income Equity Initiative. It has been rewarding to see how the profession has come together to work on the various aspects of the plan and to make sure we are looking at all the important aspects so we get it right.

My thoughts on 2017-18

September 21, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I wanted to introduce myself as your new president. I am a Calgary pediatrician who has been active with the Alberta Medical Association for almost 20 years in various roles – mostly related to fees and information technology issues. I am honored to have been elected to serve as your president for the 2017-18 year.

President’s thoughts at end of term

September 15, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I would like to thank the membership for the opportunity of allowing me to serve as president of the Alberta Medical Association. I am humbled by the trust that has been placed in me. Serving as president is a tremendous responsibility, which I have taken very seriously.

Update on academic medicine developments

September 14, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Under the Amending Agreement, the Alberta Medical Association is participating in development of the provincial Academic Medicine and Health Services Program. This is what we have typically referred to as the provincial Academic Alternative Relationship Plan. The parties involved are the universities, Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services.

AMA update on taxation proposals for private corporations

August 17, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I am writing to update you on Alberta Medical Association activity regarding the proposed federal tax changes to private corporations. (This includes not only physician professional corporations, but also holding/investment companies.) Many of you have taken time to let me know about your personal concerns and provincial/territorial medical associations across the country are hearing similar messages from your colleagues in those jurisdictions.

Reconciliation Process and Retention Benefit

July 17, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I am writing to update you about the status of the 2016-17 Retention Benefit. As you may recall, this was one of three at-risk payments under the two-year Amending Agreement.

Physician supply regulations

July 7, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I have good news with respect to the efforts to develop a needs-based physician resource plan as established by our Amending Agreement with government. Some significant progress has been made and entrenched in new regulations approved by government this week.

Income equity and the Special RF

July 6, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: I am sending this letter to update you regarding the results of the Special Representative Forum (RF) regarding income equity. I am pleased to say this was a very productive meeting for the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) that provided greater clarity on a very complex initiative. The direction given to the Board of Directors going forward is crucial to the success of this endeavor.

Members ratify PCN Governance Framework

June 14, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: On May 15, voting began for the Primary Care Network (PCN) Governance Framework, a provision of our Amending Agreement with government. I am writing to tell you the results of the vote that was just tallied this morning: The framework was ratified with a double majority: 88% of voting physicians and 98% of PCNs (47% of eligible physicians cast ballots).

About the Special RF

June 8, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Representative Forum (RF) meets on Saturday, June 10 in Calgary to further address the topic of income equity. This special RF will build on the direction that the Spring RF meeting provided. At the Spring RF, the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) was charged to proceed with work toward income equity. The RF approved using an Adjusted Net Daily Income (ANDI) model and reallocation as tools to meet a five-year timeline which was set by the RF.

Voting begins: PCN Framework – a major step towards integrated health care

May 12, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: Voting begins: PCN Framework – a major step towards integrated health care

More from the Spring RF - and plans for a Special RF

March 29, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: In my last letter I promised you more information about what occurred at the March 10-11 meeting of the Representative Forum. It was a particularly influential meeting in many ways.

RF’s direction to Board and work with sections ahead

March 22, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The Representative Forum recently held its spring meeting on March 10-11 in Edmonton. A number of important subjects were addressed including an interactive session on future directions of the AMA, an update on Physician Resource Planning, a session on Health Information Exchange, and a session on Negotiations 2018 among others.

Preparing for Representative Forum

March 1, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: The upcoming spring Representative Forum (RF) will address many important activities under the Amending Agreement. Members may review information provided with this letter and contact their delegates to provide input for the forum, particularly with respect to a major session regarding relativity and equity.

SOMB savings complete – Results and next steps

February 2, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As outlined by our Amending Agreement, we have been working with government to identify $100 million in savings via changes to Schedule of Medical Benefits (SOMB) rules. Guided by consultation with sections and also considering input from individual physicians, a joint Alberta Medical Association (AMA)/Alberta Health (AH) working group developed a list of SOMB rule changes which were based on the following principles...

No decisions made on physician supply mechanisms

January 13, 2017

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: As noted in my last President’s Letter, the AMA Amending Agreement commits the parties to establishing a needs-based physician resource plan. Using best evidence, the plan will be developed by a multi-stakeholder Physician Resource Planning Committee (PRPC). I am pleased to announce that Dr. Ruth Collins-Nakai, past AMA and CMA President, will be our representative to this important committee.

The big picture, SOMB savings and physician supply

December 16, 2016

PRESIDENT'S LETTER: It has been two months since ratification of the Amending Agreement. While the total percentage of members casting ballots was less than ideal, turnouts are typically low and those who voted did so strongly in favour. Due process was followed, and the results are binding. With this direction, the Board has endeavoured to carry out the commitments of the association. • Amending Agreement initiatives: We must keep our eyes on the big picture and long-term goals. • SOMB Rules Savings Initiative: The board is considering how to recognize the contributions of sections. • Physician supply: Any decisions that are made to manage Alberta’s physician supply must consider the evolving needs-based physician resource plan from the Physician Resource Planning Committee. No decisions regarding conditions on billing numbers have been made.

The Alberta Medical Association stands as an advocate for its physician members, providing leadership & support for their role in the provision of quality health care.