Representation and Support in Alternative Payment Arrangements

November 13, 2020

Dr. Paul Boucher, AMA President

Dear Members:

We have heard from many physicians since our October 2 President’s Letter about government’s decision to terminate grant funding for the AMA’s Alternative Relationship Plan Physician Support Services (ARP PSS) program. A variety of things have been underway to determine how the AMA can best assist members in both the short and long term.

The Board would like to thank the clinical ARP Working Group for their guidance. The chairs met recently with the Board for a detailed discussion. They also assisted us to deploy a survey of physician leaders in current and prospective cARPs.

Through the survey, members told us that they were extremely satisfied with the assistance provided by ARP PSS and are now greatly missing that expertise and support when dealing directly with Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services. They are experiencing challenges, including complexity and delays in the application process. They say their desire to start or remain in a cARP will be impacted by loss of the ARP PSS. AMA representation/support is highly important to them. Full survey results are available on the website (member login required). 

Looking to the future

It is not only with respect to cARPs that the environment is shifting. We are moving into a world of significant change for alternative payment arrangements in general. This includes AHS payment arrangements, and potential new contractual models arising out of Bill 30. We will all need to learn about the implications, risks and opportunities.

As a result, the AMA will be undertaking a project over the next few months to help us determine the optimal resourcing, structure and methods for representing and supporting physicians in all non-fee-for-service payment arrangements.

This project will be future-focused and will involve extensive input from member physicians. We need to hear from the front lines. We also need to consider the best ways to maximize member value while using approaches that are efficient, cost-effective and flexible so we can adapt quickly to changes in the external environment.

Filling the immediate gap 

To support members in exploration, development and implementation of cARPs, the AMA has contracted with a firm to add several experienced consultants to our team. The consultants will focus on providing the most high-value services, which will allow us to ensure equitable distribution of this limited resource among all physician groups who need it. To learn more, please contact arpinquiries@albertadoctors.org. More information on clinical ARPs is available on our website. 

Please note that if you are interested in pursuing a Blended Capitation Model, you will continue to have access to the AMA’s Accelerating Change Transformation Team for practice management and change management support that is associated with the adoption of the Patient’s Medical Home model. Please contact christine.deMontigny@albertadoctors.org.  

Representation  

Whether in cARP or the Academic Medicine Health Services Plan, members are entitled to representation and we are here for you. 

For questions or requests about cARP contract negotiation or advocacy, please contact Didi.Wimmer-Frank@albertadoctors.org.  

We are supporting AMHSP members in ongoing discussions with AH, AHS and the universities. We are grateful for the insight of the AMHSP Council to help address the concerns, needs and challenges of these members. The Council oversaw: the comprehensive opt-in process where physicians formally requested AMA representation over a year ago; a survey to better understand member needs; and the development of negotiations proposals that have been advanced to AH, AHS and the universities. For additional AMHSP information or support, email AMHSP@albertadoctors.org, or contact your AMHSP Council representative.

Your patients in COVID-19 

As you know, COVID-19 rates in Alberta are rapidly increasing leaving physicians with many questions. With that in mind, we are co-hosting a bi-weekly webinar series commencing on November 18 at 12:00 p.m. titled Adapting to Increasing COVID Care Needs in your Practice. This series will be hosted by physicians from AHS, the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta and the AMA, with support from the Alberta College of Family Physicians.

The webinar series will respond to common and emerging questions from primary care and other generalist physicians (i.e., pediatricians, internal medicine). Participants will have time to ask questions related to managing patient and practice needs during COVID-19, including: 

  • Maintaining safety for physicians, teams and patients 
  • Using panel management practices to provide care to those patients you worry about 
  • Managing surges and risks 

Please visit Webinar #1: Adapting to Increasing COVID Care Needs in your Practice to register.  

The webinar will be recorded. If you are unable to join live, you can view the webinar on the AMA’s Webinars & Online Learning webpage after the fact.  

Update on membership 

Membership renewal numbers continue to track very closely to last year. As of November 10, we were at 96% compared to the same date last year. Overall, we are sitting at 75% of the total member numbers for last year. This is a typical percentage for this time of year.  

If you’ve renewed already, thank you! If you haven’t gotten around to it yet, please renew today. Remaining united sends a strong message. I also encourage you also to renew with the Canadian Medical Association. They have our back with advocacy and financial support! 

Stand with us. 

Your comments are welcome in the following ways:

  • Communicate with me privately and directly by email if you would like a reply: president@albertadoctors.org  
  • Comment publicly 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). 

Sincerely,

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

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