With a commitment, we move forward

March 1, 2024

Dr. Paul Parks, AMA PresidentDear Members,
The Alberta Budget 2024 was released yesterday. I posted this initial statement and a video:

The health system remains under immense pressure. I am pleased that the Minister has made two commitments with Budget 2024 in response. First, she has agreed to implement a new funding model for the comprehensive, life-long care provided by family and rural physicians. Second, she will ensure that Alberta can compete with our neighbouring provinces when it comes to retaining and recruiting physicians and medical learners.

Budget 2024 also provides more funding for the additional services that physicians are providing to more Albertans as our population continues to grow. We will work with government to implement our AMA agreement.

I had a chance to speak with Minister LaGrange after the budget announcement. As you know, the AMA has been advocating loudly and ceaselessly for a commitment to a new comprehensive care payment model and stabilization for family and rural medicine. I am grateful to many members who lent their voices to our SOS Save Family and Rural Medicine campaign. You were heard.

The Minister has given me her word that we will implement the Physician Comprehensive Care Model as quickly as possible. She went further with a commitment to ensuring that Alberta will once again be competitive with other provinces for retention and recruitment — and make family and rural medicine viable across the province. The Minister can move forward, now that there is money in the budget that can be used, to lock stabilization and the new payment model down and get the job done. We need to move expeditiously. The urgency is still very real.

This will allow us to work collaboratively on some of the other big pieces. I made a promise to physicians in acute specialty care that we would advocate strongly for their needs when family and rural medicine matters were starting to turn in the right direction. We will need to keep pushing on primary care, but you will be seeing acute care advocacy really coming to the fore. I hope we can count on members to continue to participate and show support for your colleagues in all specialties.

By the numbers, Budget 2024 has funding for primary care. There’s been an increase to the Physician Services Budget that will offset some of the volume we have seen from population growth and add a partial funding top up for inflation. It does not catch up, but because we negotiated a rate agreement, this is less of an issue. Among line items in general, the specifics need to be worked out about where the money is going. We’ll be digging into that as we head into the busiest two-year period of our four-year agreement. (The Representative Forum will work through these plans at our March meeting.)

Stay tuned as we have more details and updates. You are invited to a member-only virtual town hall next week to hear the latest news and plans, and to ask me questions directly. I hope you can join me. A recording of the presentation will be available after the town hall on the AMA website (member login required) for members who are unable to attend. 

  • Date: Wednesday, March 6, 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Registration is now open. (member login required) 


Paul Parks
President, Alberta Medical Association

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Alberta Medical Association Mission: Advocate for and support Alberta physicians. Strengthen their leadership in the provision of sustainable quality care.