Negotiations Update

March 8, 2018

Dr. Neil D.J. Cooper, AMA President

Hello Members:

I am writing with an update on the status of negotiations with Alberta Health toward a new master agreement. As you know, discussions have been ongoing since December 2017.

Both parties wish to reach a negotiated agreement. The Alberta Medical Association seeks a deal that will meet the needs of patients, physicians and government. I wrote about the many themes that are involved in my January 17 President’s Letter. These are challenging times and our discussions impact the health care system in many ways.

We are currently engaged in meetings with the assistance of a facilitator. This non-binding facilitation process creates an opportunity to come up with something that is broader than just dollars and cents.

If facilitation does not lead to agreement, the dispute resolution processes provided for in our AMA Agreement would still be available. There are two kinds: mediation and binding arbitration and I described these in the January 19 President’s Letter. I’ve noted in past communication that government has commented on what it may do should binding arbitration be necessary. Our expectation remains, however, that government will follow through on its commitments to the dispute resolution provisions of the agreement.

At the table and in our actions and contributions under our agreement, the AMA has clearly demonstrated that we understand and are willing to assist with the financial pressures faced by government. We also continue to support the very real needs of patients for quality care. Finally, the contributions that physicians have made through stewardship and leadership to the financial recovery of the province need to be recognized. These things will be our focus because they are what a high-performing health care system requires.

Please let me know what’s on your mind. As always you can reach me three ways:

At your service,

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

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