Update on AMA’s response to government actions

March 2, 2020

AMA President Dr. Molnar

Dear Members: 
 
Government has unilaterally terminated our agreement and imposed their dictates on the profession. My February 26 President’s Letter provided a list of actions and activities that the AMA is undertaking in response. Today, I provide an update on a number of those items. I want to acknowledge the sheer amount of information that we have been sending to members. You may be feeling like there is a fire-hose of information coming at you. Government has purposely created an environment where their decisions and actions have so many implications and unintended consequences that no matter where you look - there is chaos.
 
The AMA is rising to the challenge! 
 
We continue to progress action and activities in several areas. The following provides a short update on some of our key focus areas: 

  • A legal analysis of our situation is now complete. There are a number of options to consider and we anticipate the report going to the Board for discussion/decision in next day or so.
  • The Continuing Medical Education Program is eliminated effective March 31, 2020. Members who have unused Continuing Medical Education allotments will have received an email today with instructions to claim a reimbursement for these credits. Please read the email and ensure you submit your claims by March 31.
  • We are launching a public campaign shortly called Albertans Stand Up for Health Care. The campaign tools will allow physicians and patients to participate directly by taking action with their own MLA and the health minister. As Albertans, it’s time to take a stand – we need to tell the government to get back to the bargaining table and negotiate an agreement that ensures Albertans receive the quality health care that they deserve.
  • We have signed an agreement with the CMA and they have given the AMA significant financial resources to support research, communications and legal efforts toward reaching a negotiated agreement. We are grateful for this support and will use it to fight back against the actions of this government. Read CMA’s statement on our situation: CMA supports Alberta physicians’ call for negotiated agreements.
  • We were also very grateful to see a joint statement issued by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Alberta College of Family Physicians: Health reform in Alberta needs to focus on quality patient care. 
  • There are a lot of questions about recent AHCIP bulletins and the specifics of the changes that government is imposing. There are serious challenges and we are trying to figure this out for members. The way government has gone about these changes (unilaterally and in a rush) has left us with many questions. Health Economics is drafting an information document to explain what we know about the bulletins, questions that remain, etc. Please look for that information later this week.
  • If you are on social media, you may have noticed that we’ve ramped up our presence and are actively engaging on Twitter and Facebook to correct misinformation and provide physician and patient perspectives. Government has noticed this amplification of physician and patient voices. While these are very uncertain times for physicians, we have remained focused on facts and on patients. I encourage you to add your voice to the conversation. Emotions are running high - both sides should remember to be courteous in conversations on social media. 

We must not lose focus. We must remain committed and focused on quality care for patients and fairness for physicians. We need meaningful dialogue and a resolution of our current situation through a negotiated agreement. 
 
We have a responsibility as leaders and valued members of society. Our voice must be heard. Stand tall and resolute. In that way, we are also protecting our patients. We were here before this government and we will always be here for patients.
 
In your service,
 
Christine P. Molnar, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

3 comments

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  • #1

    Jacqueline Molyneaux

    Member of the public

    7:48 PM on March 02, 2020

    I wanted to take a second and thank every family physician, ER doctor, nurse, surgeon, and specialty doctor, all of you who are trying your hardest to treat patients with all the uncertainties, the negativity and misinformation that has been thrown around, yet still having to do a job. It is very appreciated. As a patient who requires frequent hospital visits, doctors visits and specialist visits I stand with you all to show my support of what you do and how hard your job must be some days.

    As a patient I can assure you I am scared of what is to come if the UCP does not sit down and negotiate to focus on our healthcare system. As a chronically ill person I rely on your services and advice, I worry what will happen should there be less time with my family doctor or specialist. I worry also because I still require paperwork to filled out frequently and should that not happen because of time, it is possible I would lose my income. I am a single mother to three young children, they need me alive and to support them, house them and feed them. It’s scary not knowing what is happening or going to happen. I think we all just need answers the the UCP have left unclear. Thank you again for standing up for yourself and for your patients!

  • #2

    Casualty of the system

    Member of the public

    8:56 PM on March 02, 2020

    If I lose my family Dr. I will lose my life. I found him last summer after an 8 month search and he can’t afford to keep his practise open. He has been instrumental in my care that is still on going waiting for specialist that we hope can give me life again.
    I will have no one to do referrals, run tests, keep me stable, assure I have much needed meds, compassion and my hope for a better life than the one I have now.
    I’ve been in bed for almost a year waiting for specialist, waiting for Treatmenrs waiting to live.
    Crohns disease.is the silent killer attacking any organ it wants. We have the highest number in the country and the highest in the world.
    23 surgeries to date & misdiagnosed for the rarest form of Crohn’s that’s ruined my life now and left me worthless to care for my sick parents that were caring for me the last year.

    But,

    This isn’t just about me it’s about every person in Alberta. If you are one the lucky ones that are healthy, get a check up once a year, has a job, can pay bills and has no idea what impact this will have you need to hear from someone living the nightmare and not a dream. I’ve been fighting for you with out you knowing. I’ve written every level of govt., assoc, and medical board for you. I’ve been a test subject for you, I’ve been mentally and physically harassed by hospital staff for you. I’ve written complaints and fought for good health care for you.

    Having an illness that affects my life everyday has a purpose and this is it. That purpose is to fight for Albertan’s and I will do it until my last breath. I’ve never said why me I say what not me. This is my job my body is the vessel. This is what this disease has done. Taught me how to fight for the rights of those that can’t or don’t realize they could be me.

    What Dr.s are going to absorb all the patients who lose their Dr.s? What will rural Albertans do? Who’s going to take on critical care patients like me? What are emergency rooms going to look like with the over load of 1000s with out Dr.s? How much of the budget will be misallocated as emerg finds run dry?

    Emerg isn’t going to hand out monthly meds, monitor vitals, give supportive care and be family Dr.s for those that don’t have them. They are Emerg Dr.s over worked already with people lining the halls for days waiting to be seen Who is going to be held accountable for people that die with out meds, continuous care, vitals missed, the corona virus?

    Shandro’s plan turns me from a person to a disease and a $ sign. First my disease and time will be assigned a yearly fee. If I don’t go regularly as the funding allows me to my Dr. loses the funding to care for me and I’m considered cured & my funding pulled and I lose my Dr.

    I don’t want my identity to be my disease and a Shandro $ but I am. That is the bottom line after all....The value of our family Dr.s and the value of the patents they took an oath to care for.

    Family Dr.s are the cornerstone of medicine. They are there for the beginning of our lives and the end of lives. They worked too hard to be Dr.s to be shut down from doing what they were trained and love to do.

    I’m losing sleep with worry. I hug my Dr. when I see him and we pray he doesn’t have to close. He is scared for his 1000 patients. He is terrified for patients like me that can live without meds and constant care.

    If I don’t live threw this Dr. crisis please remember I have a name, Remember I was loved and valued by family friends and Dr.s. who fought to save. Remember me for the fighter in bed that learned everything I could to stay here and fight for my rights and others to live. Remember me....

    Causality of Albertans Governments Health Care

  • #3

    Janet Lambert

    Member of the public

    5:49 AM on March 04, 2020

    I am very concerned about this new legislation and how it’s affecting my family. We just received a letter in the mail from our family physician saying that she will be dropping us as patients due to the new comprehensive changes taking place. I feel betrayed since I have been a patient since my doctor has been to our area. How will this be affecting our emergency rooms with now added patients needing to wait to see a doctor just to get prescriptions renewed. These areas will become over flowing. Where does a person turn?

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