The No Vote + two days

April 1, 2021

Dr. Paul E. Boucher, AMA President

Dear Members: 

To avoid days of silence at an important time, I wanted to write again before the weekend, which I hope will be a short break for many.  

I appreciate all the members who have written since the ratification vote to offer thoughtful comments on next steps for the AMA. There is a sense of unity within the association and a determination to continue to work toward an agreement that will deliver sufficient value for patients, with fairness and stability for physicians. This must remain our goal. A health care system without an agreement between government and physicians is an untenable situation.  

Our first priority is to fully engage with members to learn more about your concerns and priorities. We are currently exploring a number of options: Board meetings with physician leaders; another special Representative Forum; live-streamed grassroots member engagement opportunities; webinars; surveys; and online discussions. The engagement opportunities we have had in recent weeks have been incredibly informative and I look forward to hearing more from all of you.  

Regarding next steps, I have spoken with the Minister and we anticipate meeting next week. We need to begin by deciding what our relationship is going to look like as we move forward. There are many issues facing us in health care and how we deal with them will depend on this relationship. The question of the physician support programs needs to be resolved as an early priority. There is an urgent need to support practices in the next phase of COVID-19. PRAC ID restrictions are due to be implemented a year from now, and we require a needs-based physician resource plan built on engagement with multiple stakeholders. As contracting for publicly funded services is set to begin, we must work out the details to ensure patients have equitable access and physicians can maintain autonomy and ownership of the practice of medicine. It is my strong view that all of these activities need to be addressed collaboratively and should build toward a negotiated agreement.   

These have been tremendously stressful weeks as the third wave of COVID-19 looms. I know Albertans very much appreciate all that you have done for them in the battle so far. I hope that you are looking after yourselves through this difficult time.

Always remember, the AMA’s Physician and Family Support Program is available for support if you need it, 24/7/365 at 1-877-767-4637

I appreciate the opportunity to serve you in this next phase of our journey to a new agreement. Be well and safe.

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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