Complex modifier change paused; other proposals remain to be implemented

March 17, 2020

Dear Members

This afternoon, government announced that the proposed changes to physicians’ payments for the Complex (Time) Modifier will not go ahead as planned on March 31, 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:

Needed delay in implementation of the remainder of government’s Physician Funding Framework, currently planned for April 1, 2020

Implementation of codes or other necessary payments to allow patient care in a safe, appropriate and timely fashion during the COVID-19 pandemic

I make these suggestions in the spirit of bringing clarity and to request physicians have the support they need. 

I will update you on this in the next couple of days. 

These are challenging times for all of us. What is written above is not meant in any way to diminish the important steps and the leadership taken by the provincial government in our current crisis. They have been so visibly involved with numerous actions to support Albertans. There is clear government leadership, with  expert  public  health communications,  promotion of  social distancing and providing direction to the public. . Today a state of emergency has been called, freeing up needed resources for the fight against COVID-19

We are now deeply involved in dealing with the current crisis. I know, “This is what we do!”  But when I see all those around me in the community and AHS mitigating and innovating to manage the crisis, I am deeply moved by the manifest humanity and kindness.

Also, I think our friends in Laboratory Medicine deserve particular recognition for high quality work under extreme pressure.

Thank You!

In your service

Christine P. Molnar, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

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Alberta Medical Association Mission: Advocate for and support Alberta physicians. Strengthen their leadership in the provision of sustainable quality care.