The Road; Bill 30

July 7, 2020

Dr. Christine Molnar, AMA President

Dear Members:

Bill 30

A number of important events have occurred since Friday, July 3.

What road are we on as a profession in Alberta? The view from 10,000 feet is concerning.

Yesterday, Bill 30, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, was introduced in the legislature. Many of you have already contacted the Alberta Medical Association with concerns.

The AMA was not consulted about Bill 30. Much like Bill 21, this bill introduces elements of health care reform with no transparency or consultation with important stakeholders, including the AMA. We will be evaluating the implications.

A broad view will be important in looking at all aspects of Bill 30. It is an omnibus bill and has many provisions to consider.

Although we have not yet completed a full evaluation, in media interviews yesterday, on preliminary review, I noted opportunities in the bill.

Most notable is the increased opportunity for Albertans to participate in their health care system. There is an increased focus on patient-centered care.

Participation of public members within the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta will increase from 25% to 50% on Council, panels or committees. As noted by the CPSA itself, this increased public participation is a current trend nationally. It will be important to have these individual appointments by government be truly reflective of appropriate skill sets and representative of our population from an equity and diversity standpoint.

Bill 30 calls for Alternative Relationship Plans under contract instead of under Ministerial Order. This is something the AMA has been seeking for many years in the context of a principles-based approach and individual choice. (Please see my May 15 President’s Letter on this topic.)

Of great concern are the additional changes to the Alberta Health Care Insurance Act. We are currently awaiting legal opinion on this amending legislation. It must be evaluated in the context of an enduring public health care system and the integrity of our profession.

The details of the implementation of these changes and the underlying processes are very important.

The Board of Directors will hold a special meeting tomorrow evening to review our initial analysis of the legislation. We will also consider the findings of last week’s member survey, which points to clear distress in the profession.

I will report back to you. I am eager to hear your thoughts and impressions, too.

Review of medical staff bylaws

You may have seen media coverage in recent days regarding a disturbing incident of racism in a Grande Prairie hospital in 2016. In response to the event, the Minister has called for an immediate review of medical staff bylaws to be completed in 60 days.

The AMA will be supporting the Zone Medical Staff Associations to perform the work needed and will be actively involved in that assessment. Here is some information that has been shared among the zonal leaders, coming initially out of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association.

Bylaws and good process are all characteristics of healthy working environments, but they are not the only characteristics. Medical staff bylaws are only one step on the path toward development of a Just Culture that respects and strives for equity, diversity and inclusion.

I hope that we will see positive changes, like those referenced in my June 30 President’s Letter, with improvements such as an independent office where physicians can report concerns, safe from reprisal, and actions for positive change can be employed.

Please watch for more information soon.

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


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