What We Heard: Member Feedback on the Tentative Agreement Package

June 2, 2021

Dr. Paul Boucher, AMA President

Dear Members:

I committed to reporting back to you about what we heard from the membership during the ratification period for the Tentative Agreement Package. Today, I am pleased to share the feedback with you (member login required).

This report – drawn from thousands of member contacts through townhalls, online chats, discussion board postings and email – makes a compelling statement about the mindset of the membership during the ratification and the factors that contributed to each individual choice in the vote. Conducting this analysis is part of the AMA’s effort to engage members and understand your issues, concerns and situations in this difficult pandemic spring.

Several themes underlie what we heard from physicians, such as sustainability, appropriate models of budget management and other issues related to the relationship between government and physicians. These themes, and others, are more fully covered in the report.
 
These issues will be explored, and we will communicate and engage with you in doing so. These themes will be the foundation for the work that lies ahead. You will have opportunities to tell us what you think and to contribute to that work.

In addition, we are exploring with government some of the immediate issues facing physicians and the system, setting the stage toward a comprehensive agreement that is acceptable to both government and the profession. This has included discussions on the following areas:

  • The parties are committed to sign-off on the physician grant programs that will be administered by the AMA (excluding at this time Medical Liability Reimbursement, which will be administered by AH), covering both retroactively for the fiscal year 2020-21 and for the current fiscal year 2021-22.
  • Regarding Continuing Medical Education, a working group has been established with representatives from AMA, the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta, Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services. The intention is to establish the CME 2021-22 program and a longer-term, reimagined program ready for 2022-23 that aligns with the CPSA’s continuing professional development activities. Administration of the CME Program is also being discussed.
  • Establishment of a working group to consider the ongoing requirements for virtual care with representatives from AMA, CPSA, AHS and AH. Focus will be on getting an interim set of guidelines, rules and rates established in the near-term, with a longer-term strategy and work to follow.
  • Considerations regarding the Physician Compensation Advisory Committee, including meaningful input for AMA and physicians.
  • Reinstatement of an Information Sharing Agreement. This information is crucial for discussions related to physician compensation and service utilization.
  • Outreach to the medical profession via a series of meetings involving the Minister and myself.
  • Longer-term policy discussions on issues such as physician supply and new payment arrangements.
  • Understanding on a return to the negotiations table, including identifying the terms, issues, process and timelines.

As always, I will keep the membership informed. Thank you for your engagement and support.

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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