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

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.

Needs-based physician resource planning

November 29, 2016

The AMA (Alberta Medical Association) commends government for its commitment to fund any new physicians that Alberta needs while working with the AMA toward a needs-based physician resource plan. Principles will guide the Board of Directors. The timing is good to develop an evidence-based plan without being driven by a crisis in physician supply.

SOMB savings: Keeping you informed

November 15, 2016

We have had an impressive response from physicians to our call for suggestions toward the Schedule of Medical Benefits (SOMB) Rules Savings Initiative.

Implementing the Amending Agreement

November 10, 2016

You may have seen a feature article in Postmedia Network publications yesterday regarding the details of our newly ratified Alberta Medical Association (AMA) Amending Agreement. This was the first media coverage concerning details of the agreement’s provisions and there have been more media interviews since. These are key opportunities to emphasize some important points as we move into implementation. I thought I would share some of the messaging we have been relating to the media.

Ratified: AMA Amending Agreement

October 17, 2016

I am writing to let you know the results of the ratification vote by Alberta physicians on the package of amendments to the 2011-18 AMA Agreement. I am pleased to advise that the amendments were ratified, receiving a “Yes” vote from 74% of responding physicians. (Voter turnout was 29%, a bit lower than the average 38% for votes since 2003.)

Appreciating achievement

September 30, 2016

In my letter yesterday, I recounted the topics and discussions at the recent Representative Forum and annual general meeting. I thought you would also be interested to learn about some of the ceremonial moments of the event when we recognized the achievements of some outstanding Albertans.

First AMA President’s Letter:

September 29, 2016

This is my first opportunity to write to you since becoming president of the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) on Saturday, September 24, during the fall Representative Forum (RF) and annual general meeting. It is truly an honor to serve as your president, and I look forward to working for you in 2016-17.

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.