Plans in place for 2020

December 24, 2019

Dr. Christine P. Molnar

Dear Members:

Last Friday you will have received a copy of the AMA’s final response document for government’s Insured Services Consultation. The December 20, 2019 President’s Letter is on our website if you missed it. It contains our perspective on the consultation items.

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro. It was a candid conversation. The minister clearly stated his commitment to a health system that is fiscally sustainable and delivers quality accessible care. He has challenged the AMA to work with him, including the consideration of alternatives to the Alberta Health proposals put forward during the Consultation Process. The AMA will be discussing this during our on-going negotiations. While this occurs, we are working to prepare for challenges that may face us in early 2020 and beyond.

I want to thank the many physicians who have taken the time to copy me on their letters to their MLAs regarding the consultation proposals. My email inbox continues to fill with these thoughtful and poignant messages. Please keep them coming! We need to clearly communicate to our MLAs the natural consequences of these proposals if implemented on our patients and our practices. As difficult as this period continues to be, my hope is that in the longer term we will be engaged in productive relationships where meaningful information and insight can be exchanged.

Rural physicians have been particularly active, meeting with MLAs and participating in letter writing campaigns. The Section of Rural Medicine, led by President Dr. Ed Aasman, has developed a paper outlining the role of existing financial support and incentives for rural practice through the AMA Agreement. It addresses the potential impact of the consultation proposals if implemented. This is the kind of articulate, fact-based discourse that will serve everyone well as we work toward an agreement with government.

The Physician Advocacy Group has been observing events and will be holding its next meeting in early January to discuss the full range of strategies for advocacy with government and the public. In addition to negotiations, there is a full year ahead involving discussions with system partners around value and affordability in areas such as: physician supply; the role of rural health care in rural communities; advancing the Medical Home; system improvements; and partnerships with patients.

My hope for you during this holiday season is joyful fulfillment with friends and family. I send heartfelt wishes for rest and time for personal renewal. For those of our colleagues who will work through the holiday “break,” I thank you for doing so and urge you, as best you can, to carve out some time for your own wellness and relationships.

In closing, you can be confident that your Board of Directors and our AMA staff remain focused and determined to advocate for the profession and the patients we serve. I look forward to writing to you again in 2020.

You can reach me in the usual ways (see below). As mentioned in my last letter, the volume of email I have been receiving from members is causing a delay in my own expectations for response. Your understanding is appreciated.

  • 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 on the AMA website (please be aware that comments are public, i.e., not members-only, even if you are logged in as a member).

In your service,

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

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