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

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