Countdown to Budget 2024

February 15, 2024

Dr. Paul Parks, AMA PresidentDear Members,

To the Minister, in media interviews and to the public, I have one message in the next two weeks: Family and rural practices are no longer sustainable and they need urgent support in Budget 2024.

We pressed for and obtained significant federal funding -- $100 million in each of 2024-25 and 2025-26 budget years. This is intended to provide one-off, short term, urgent support to practices that are failing. This money must flow to physicians within weeks - not months - particularly when we know that 20% of our family physician and rural generalist practices say they will not last six months without intervention. The first distribution of up to $10,000 per physician practice is now available to help manage patient panels. The reality is that the federal and panel money won’t plug the hole in the financial hulls of family and rural practices – nor were they intended to. Those ships are still sinking.

As I have noted many times, these funds are a down payment and represent phase one of the AMA’s three-phase proposal to government: (i) immediate stabilization payments; (ii) support to remain in comprehensive care until a new model option is available; and (iii) the new model option to incentivize comprehensive, life-long patient care.

I am very aware that there is a concurrent and ongoing crisis in specialty care. Access within our health care system continues to be a major problem. We are actively working on advocating for solutions there too. For the next two weeks, though, we must focus on a final push in an attempt to stabilize the foundation of our health care system: ensuring our family medicine and rural generalist practices are viable and ultimately thriving.

We need a clear commitment to all three phases of our proposal in Budget 2024 when it is released on February 29. We will be watching to see what is said. Here are four things you can do: 

  1. TELL YOUR STORY by adding a video to our SOS: The Urgency Is Real physician video wall. Share your name, where you practice and your thoughts – whether about supporting family medicine or acute care. (It’s fast, easy and packs a powerful punch.)
  2. COMMUNICATE with your patients and government representatives about the urgency of the matter.
  3. READ my President’s Letter on March 1 for the AMA’s reaction to the Budget.
  4. ATTEND a member-only virtual town hall on Wednesday, March 6 at 6 p.m. (registration link will follow closer to the date.) You will hear the inside scoop about what comes next and have a chance to ask me any questions you may have.


Paul Parks
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.