Supporting Academic Physicians

November 16, 2017

Dr. Neil Cooper, AMA President

Hello Members:

Alberta Medical Association Support to Academic Physicians

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.

At the time, Academic Physicians were signing Individual Service Agreements with Alberta Health Services and the universities as part of the AMHSP. The vast majority of Academic Physicians signed their ISAs by the September 30 deadline, but there were some who had concerns and wanted to appeal. The AMA recently emailed members to let them know that, if they needed assistance, the AMA is ready and willing to assist.

The change to the initial Appeals Process came about quite quickly. There are, however, some amendments the AMA believes can be made to improve upon it. The AMA will be communicating our issues and concerns to the universities and AHS shortly and we understand that they will take the AMA’s concerns into consideration for the next version of the Appeals Process.

Academic Physicians in AMA Governance

The AMA is currently in the process of exploring on-going support to Academic Physicians. To do this, we are developing a Terms of Reference for a Working Group of Academic Physicians. The group will help the AMA to determine what types of support Academic Physicians require and how best to provide what is needed. A significant part of this will be looking at how these members link into the AMA Governance structure (e.g., the Representative Forum).

We have some names of interested physicians already that we gathered from the Town Hall Meetings we held last year, but if you’re interested in being part of this Working Group please contact Cameron Plitt, AMA Chief Financial Officer, at cameron.plitt@albertadoctors.org.

Academic Physician Representation

Recently a number of Academic Physicians sent an email to all their colleagues. The essence was that grassroots Academic Physicians have no voice or ability to change things within the Academic ARP. This group believes that the only way to change things is to gain some influence and control. The recommended course of action in their eyes is for all Academic Physicians to organize under the umbrella of the AMA. Accordingly, the email included a Request for Representation form that they are encouraging Academic Physicians to sign and submit to the AMA. (If you are an Academic Physician and did not receive it, you can request a copy via the email address provided in the next paragraph.)

The AMA shares concerns about appropriate representation for Academic Physicians. We would welcome the opportunity to provide support. We agree that your best option lies in speaking with a collective voice for all of academic medicine. If you would like a copy of the email and the Request for Representation form, please email RepresentMe@albertadoctors.org.

If you’d like to comment on this President’s Letter or any other issue, I would be happy to hear from you. Please do so:

  • By email if you would like a direct reply: president@albertadoctors.org
  • By commenting in the comments section below (public)
  • By joining a conversation we have started on our new Discussion Board (member log in required)

At your service,

Neil D.J. Cooper, MD, FRCPC, Dip. Sport Med.
President

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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.