Government’s announcement today about health system reform

November 8, 2023

Dr. Paul Parks, AMA PresidentDear Members,

You are likely already aware the government has now unveiled plans to “disaggregate” health care services in our province. This restructuring will ultimately see the establishment of four separate crown corporations responsible for various aspects of health care:

  • Primary Care
  • Acute Care (remaining within AHS)
  • Mental Health and Addictions
  • Continuing Care

For some time, there have been concerns about the effectiveness and quality of health care delivery in Alberta. We have heard this from members, who have told us that they want government to address suboptimal health care outcomes. We also know that many members support more authentic local decision-making in the health care system.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to approach this restructuring responsibly and carefully to ensure these changes do not have adverse impacts on patient care or lead to longer wait times and poorer access for Albertans. As these new functional organizations are being established, our primary concern is continuity of care for the people of Alberta. We must make sure that patients can navigate this new system seamlessly, without disruptions.

I have told government that physician co-design is vital, and the AMA has a role to play in guiding the path forward. Our health care system is already in a fragile state. The consistent message I have been hearing from physicians across Alberta is that any changes made in our system must involve input from experts on the front lines – the physicians and allied health care workers who are dedicated to patient care. While it is reassuring to see that the government is committed to consultation, we will be working diligently to make sure they get and heed our input.

As government moves forward with their proposed new structure, we will be attentive to the representation rights of physicians working in these other organizations. We will be working to ensure there are answers to questions like: what is the most effective physician representation in a disaggregated system? How will physicians who work in more than one of these entities be compensated? Will physicians have privileges in more than one of these organizations? These and other questions will all require clear answers that support physicians as system leaders.

With respect to the proposed governance structure for primary care, government has told us their new model does not propose operational control over clinics. But this will be another area where physicians will need clarification and reassurance and the AMA will be working with members to ensure family physicians and rural generalists are heard and their input respected.

While the details and impacts are unclear, what is clear is that physician engagement in each of these new organizations will be critical. The AMA will advocate for our voice at the decision-making tables. Physician representation will remain our priority as these new governance structures are stood up. Physician involvement at the ground-level will help to ensure proper functioning and collaboration across these functional domains.

We will be working to ensure that the interests of physicians and our patients are safeguarded during this transformation. Your dedication and expertise are invaluable, and your insights are critical in shaping the future of health care in our province. Together, we can work to ensure that these changes result in a more efficient, effective and patient-centered system for all Albertans.


Paul Parks
President, Alberta Medical Association


Post a comment

  • #1

    MacGregor Steele


    12:20 PM on November 08, 2023

    As a physician who has worked at an acute care hospital since 2006, I worry that this move will take us back to that era of disorganization and increased cost and lengthy delays. I feel that AHS is relatively efficient in many areas and that this approach is foolhardy, will be expensive and in the end will cause more headaches for patients and healthcare practitioners. I feel that the AMA should be more critical of these proposed changes.

  • #2


    Member of the public

    12:06 PM on November 09, 2023

    In response to MacGregor Steele [comment #1]

    Why change what is not broken and has taken years to get to where they are. We need more doctors as their are many persons who do not have a primary physician. Government has made too many drastic changes to Alberta's health care, and not all to the good. Doctors are limited at how long they spend with a patient, they are only paid for a certain period of time set by the government, "people who have no idea regarding the workings of the medical profession". This time limit is unfair to the patient and doctor. Most doctors are totally overworked, it takes approximately 2 -3 weeks to get an appointment and if your really sick and can't get an immediate appointment you end up going to emergency, which is overworked and patients can have up to a 6 hour wait time. When is the government going to wake up. Most politicians do not have to wait as long for medical help as the average person which is slightly unfair. I am tired of the way the UCP are ruining or health care plus many other things. Listen to What MacGregor Steele is saying. I believe he is not the only physician who feels the same

  • #3


    Member of the public

    7:10 PM on November 11, 2023

    And how does this help patients with significant issues who have been on long term wait lists. What about those who have no benefits or income. It took a long time to get AHS where it is, now D Smith wants to scrap a decent system for what? To make a point. This us just about as foolhardy as scrapping the CPP for an Alberta Pension.

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