About retroactive payments to physicians

December 19, 2018

Dr. Alison Clarke, AMA President

Dear Members:

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

We’ve received a few related questions from a number of members. I thought the answers would be useful to others too, so I am sharing them in this President’s Letter.

1. My clinic received a payment, but I don’t know how much is payable to each physician.

Alberta Health requires that retroactive payments follow the same stream as the original payments. Therefore, the retroactivity applies to the physician Business Arrangement payee originally designated when the service was billed. If you or your clinic would like to receive a breakdown of payments by physicians, the November 30 AH Bulletin explains how to make a request.

Each lump sum payment will be made by automatic deposit (electronic funds transfer) to the Business Arrangement payee under which the service was provided. In cases where multiple physicians are associated with a Business Arrangement, information on the retroactive amount attributable to each physician can be obtained by emailing Health.InfoRequest@gov.ab.ca. Please include the following details with your request: your office name, office address, contact name with contact email address, phone number and the Business Arrangement Number under which you are making the request. A representative from Alberta Health will follow up on your request.

I am told that AH has already received a large number of requests and is working through them on a first-come-first-served basis.

2. How can I confirm that my payment was issued?

Here are a few steps to take:

  • Confirm that you are eligible. Physicians who provided service between April 1, 2017 and October 31, 2018, either under fee-for-service, alternative relationship plans (clinical ARPs or the clinical portion of academic ARPs), the Business Costs Program, or the Rural Remote Northern Program are generally eligible for retroactivity. Specific details and timing around these payments is contained in my December 6 President’s Letter and the November 30 AH Bulletin.
  • Check your claims statement and bank accounts associated with your Business Arrangement and/or contact the clinics in which you worked over the April 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018 period to see if they have received payment.
  • Ensure your bank account information is up to date with AH.
  • If the payments do not appear to have been made, send a query to Alberta Health at Health.InfoRequest@gov.ab.ca. Include: your office name, office address, contact name with contact email address, phone number and the Business Arrangement Number under which you are making the request.

3. Are my Workers’ Compensation Board payments eligible for retroactivity?

WCB Alberta will also be providing physicians with retroactive payments. Because physicians providing care to injured workers have one year to invoice the WCB, and these invoices tend to arrive at WCB over the course of the year, payments will be made in three separate runs.

  • First run: For services provided April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018
    Physicians that have invoiced prior to November should see retroactive payments within the next two weeks.
  • Second run: For services provided April 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018 (and not covered by the first payment run)
    Physicians that invoice between November and March should see retroactive payments in April 2019.
  • Third run: For services provided April 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018
    Physicians that invoice between March and October should see retroactive payments in November 2019.

4. Are there any other retroactive payments to be made?

The retroactive adjustment also applies to the Continuing Medical Education and Parental Leave Programs. An additional $28 in retroactive CME allotment was issued earlier this week. You can see your unused allotments on the member dashboard at www.albertadoctors.org/dashboard (member login required).

Retroactive adjustments on parental leave payments back to April 1, 2017 will be issued in the New Year.

There will also be retroactive adjustments on payments under the Physician On-Call Program. Details regarding these payments will be provided early in 2019.

As I write to you today, I believe this will be my last President’s Letter of 2018. Please let me take this final opportunity to offer Season’s Greetings and best wishes for the year ahead.

Warm regards,

Alison M. Clarke, MD, CCFP, FCFP

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