Element 9: Physician Compensation Committee

What/how

The Physician Compensation Committee (PCC) has specific and focused authority in the AMA Agreement regarding physician compensation matters. The PCC will be comprised of not more than seven members and not less than three:

  • Up to three members each from AH and AMA.
  • An independent chair selected jointly by the Minister and the President.
  • In the event that the Minister and President cannot agree on a chair, there are provisions within Schedule 5 for the appointment of the chair by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.
  • Voting of the PCC is by majority. The AMA will have one vote, AH will have one vote and the chair will have one vote.

The specific roles, responsibilities and duties of the PCC are laid out in Schedule 4 of the AMA Agreement. Generally, these include:

  • Managing the compensation aspects of the AMA Agreement, including:
    • Allocation of negotiated increases.
    • Reviewing and adjusting fees.
    • Reviewing and determining prices for the Rural Remote Northern, Physician On-Call and Business Costs programs.
    • Reviewing and managing the distribution of funding among insured medical services, plans and programs.

The PCC does not have jurisdiction or responsibility for any program managed by the AMA through grant agreements with AH (see Element 11: Grant Agreements).

Each party will be responsible for the costs of their own PCC members and will share the costs of the chair.

You might ask

Q9.1 Is there a risk of allowing majority voting with an independent chair?

  • Best results will always occur when the parties work together and reach decisions together on matters brought before the PCC. But, in the case of disagreement, the chair will have the deciding vote and there are no guarantees of outcome. In this environment, the parties need to work together, with best information available to support their decisions.

Q9.2 How will three AMA representatives present a position for the whole AMA?

  • Up to three members will be responsible for bringing forward the views of the medical profession at the PCC. The PCC can also establish working committees and physicians will be involved in these. The AMA will be responsible for setting its own internal support and providing guidance to those representing the profession.

Q9.3 What processes will the PCC use to make its decisions, e.g., related to fee review, fee relativity, etc.

  • The PCC will determine its own procedures. The AMA has had a long-standing view that any fee review process must:
    • Be fair.
    • Be transparent.
    • Be based on best information available.
    • Allow for the appropriate input from affected parties, e.g., sections.

Q9.4 Will there be a new process for allocation?

  • Yes. This process will be established by the PCC. It is likely that greater emphasis will have to be applied to system objectives such as improving access, quality and productivity. Other factors that would influence allocation would include fee relativity and overhead recovery.

Q9.5 How will the PCC determine its priorities, e.g., for future allocations?

  • The PCC mandate will be determined by the provincial strategic requirements for physician compensation, programs and plans established by AH in consultation with the AMA. The Management Committee (MC) will consult with AH and AMA on these strategic requirements and give broad general direction to PCC on priorities. The Consultation Agreements provide another channel for this system-level input.

Q9.6 What is the term of the PCC chair?

  • The term has not yet been established. The MC will work out details of the term and contract of the PCC chair.

AMA Agreement document references

  • Document reference 1: Page 7, Section 8.
  • Document reference 2: Page 15, Schedule 4.

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