Representative Forum meets this week

March 13, 2018

Dr. Neil D.J. Cooper, AMA President

Hello Members:

The Representative Forum meets in Edmonton this week: Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17. I thought I would give you an overview of the agenda and highlight some of what we will be discussing.

Each RF meeting provides an opportunity to report on what the AMA has done in the preceding six months under our Vision, Mission and Values statement and, more specifically, under the Business Plan. The Business Plan is built on three Key Result Areas: Financial Health, Well Being, and System Partnership and Leadership. Each KRA has a number of long-term goals and short/medium-term objectives. Click here to view a summary of what has been accomplished toward the 2017-18 Business Plan since the Fall 2017 RF.

The Spring 2018 RF will include very important sessions:

  • Negotiations 2018: The RF has had a role in providing input to the Board regarding negotiations, beginning with helping to identify our opening position at the Spring 2017 RF meeting. An update will be provided on the latest news and considerations as we negotiate a new Master Agreement with Alberta Health.
  • Peer Review Committee: Peer review has been supported by the RF as an important component of stewardship and leadership, using education to enhance the effectiveness and appropriateness of physician billings. (My December 15, 2017 President’s Letter contains an overview, with links to tools and resources if you need a refresher.) An RF update on the PRC’s work will include seeking guidance on several policy questions around the future role and scope of the committee.
  • Physician Resource Planning: The Amending Agreement introduced two fundamental concepts regarding physician resource planning. (1) Through the Budget Reconciliation process, government was to be financially responsible for the costs of any net new growth in the number of physicians. (2) A committee was created to advise the Minister on needs-based physician requirements and strategies to fill any identified gaps in physician supply. The RF will receive an update on discussions and planning to date. Their feedback will also be needed regarding physician resource planning in the community (outside of Alberta Health Services privileging) and the future roles and responsibilities of the AMA in all these efforts.
  • Physician Compensation Strategy/Income Equity Initiative: I have communicated this year about the overall AMA Physician Compensation Strategy, of which the Income Equity Initiative is one element. Compensation is about more than just pay and rates; it is one of the most powerful levers we have to support the delivery of care in the way that patients require, e.g., integrated care or the medical home. It can’t work in isolation, either, since it naturally must link with related elements like physician supply planning or informatics to support integrated care delivery and best quality practice. Under that umbrella, we will be bringing back Income Equity Initiative work that the RF requested last fall, including further exploration of business costs, training and hours of work. Members have received regular, six-week updates on all the activity in which the sections have been deeply involved. Click here to see the updates. The RF will weigh in and provide guidance to the Board for this ongoing, interactive process.
  • Professionalism, Diversity and Gender Equity: Instances of harassment, lack of respect and lack of diversity occur in the medical profession. These issues are not unique to medicine but they do require focus and attention in order to be appropriately addressed by the profession. By having open, inclusive dialogue we can create a space that allows improvement and change on this front. Every organization starts from a different place and in a unique context, but an educational approach can help to negate many of the fears that people have when it comes to addressing these issues. Guest speaker Dr. Nancy Baxter of the University of Toronto will address the RF preceding a discussion on direction for the AMA going forward in this context.

As you can see, this will be a full agenda and an important meeting. If you have any last-minute comments for your RF delegate(s), please get in touch with them. Click here for contact information (member login required).

As always I am glad to hear from you, too. You can reach me in the usual ways:

At your service,

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

P.S. One further note relating to the Income Equity Initiative: This week all members will receive an individual overhead survey, providing you with an opportunity to contribute to the data collection toward the most up-to-date business cost model. This is being developed by Deloitte for Alberta Health and AMA, and will inform income equity, allocation, negotiations and general physician compensation work. Please take time to participate in this important activity as it will ensure that costs from your practice and section are appropriately captured.

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