Paper on government discussions and a member survey

August 11, 2021

Dr. Paul Boucher, President

Dear Members:

In this letter

  • Informed by your feedback, a paper for your review about the Board’s approach to government discussions
  • We launch a survey to look further into how members are faring

Discussion paper: Member input and government discussions

When the ratification vote failed to pass on the Tentative Agreement package, we shared the What We Heard (member login required) report on the concerns that physicians expressed during the TAP process. We also committed to continuing to engage with you to understand your interests and issues with a forward-looking focus.

From the ratification period to today, thousands of physicians, resident physicians and medical students have engaged through virtual town halls, AMA discussion boards, email and social media. They have expressed what they saw missing in the TAP and where they think the relationship with government needs to go. We have built on that rich foundation of insight with the experience of the many physicians involved in the ongoing discussions around AHS stipends (member login required) and other negotiations, e.g., laboratory medicine and diagnostic imaging in AHS. Still more intelligence arrives daily in correspondence from members who take time to respond to President’s Letters, events in the news or other issues that are important to their practice and their wellbeing.

Supplementing this individual input, physician leaders have been meeting with the Board on a regular basis as discussions have continued. This leader group includes: the Sections of Family Medicine and Rural Medicine; Specialty Care Alliance; Clinical Alternative Relationship Plan Working Group; Academic Medicine Health Services Program Council; Council of Zonal Leaders; Joint Task Force; AMA Compensation Committee; and Physician Compensation Advisory Committee.

This broad range of perspectives and input is powerful and truly appreciated.

In my last letter, I informed you of the state of discussions with government and the scoping exercise underway with the Board about what would have to change in order to make the TAP acceptable to members. At government’s request, we are currently preparing a proposal that identifies the specific changes we would like to see, including in the areas of relationship, budget management and dispute resolution. Everything we are doing is informed by the feedback that members have provided. You will find more information in the Where We’re Going discussion paper (member login required). As the name suggests, we are looking for your feedback.

As for member engagement in general, there will be more. We always want to understand more about what matters to you. As your world changes, you expect the AMA to keep learning about you in all areas that affect how we support you.

To take an extra step toward that goal, some research is underway. Some sections are conducting surveys for their respective executives (including one that is open now for family physicians from the Section of Family Medicine and Section of Rural Medicine).

Please participate in our AMA Member Engagement Survey. It is not long and there are opportunities to add open text comments. The questions address:

  • How you feel in your professional environment and in our health care system today.
  • Changes that you may have made or are planning to make, and how they have affected you.
  • What’s happening with your patients, including impacts of the COVID-19 care deficit.
  • How the AMA can best support you.

The AMA Member Engagement Survey (member login required) is open now and closes Wednesday, August 25 at 4 p.m. Please note, you will need to log in to access the survey link, but your survey answers will be anonymous. Survey data is compiled by our provider. The login requirement is simply to ensure that participants are verified AMA members.

I look forward to receiving your feedback through the survey and your comments on the discussion paper. I want to say again that I know how busy you are and how much I value your time and input. We will report back to you regarding what we learn through these activities.

I will write again soon. If you have comments or other issues to raise, please reach me in the usual ways:

  • Communicate with me privately and directly by email if you would like a reply: president@albertadoctors.org
  • Comment publicly below on this President’s Letter (please be aware that comments are public, i.e., not members-only, even if you are logged in as a member).

Sincerely,

Paul E. Boucher, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

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