Alberta Medical Association

Alberta Medical Association

October 01, 2005 12:05 ET

Alberta Medical Association President Calls for Care Guarantees to be Part of Alberta's Third Way

BANFF, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 1, 2005) - Care guarantees should be introduced as part of the Alberta government's Third Way "so that our patients know what they can expect from Medicare in Alberta," said outgoing Alberta Medical Association (AMA) President Dr. Jane E. Ballantine in her valedictory address today to the AMA's 100th annual general meeting.

The Mazankowski report introduced the concept of a 90-day wait time for certain services. The First Ministers' Accord of September 2004 targeted the reduction of wait times in five priority areas.

"The government's endorsement of the Mazankowski report and the government's own Third Way document both point to an obvious starting point - care guarantees," Dr. Ballantine said.

"Now it's time for action," Dr. Ballantine added. "Alberta can become the first province in Canada to introduce care guarantees."

However, in order for the care guarantees to be met, Dr. Ballantine said, "The government needs to ensure that the resources and infrastructure are in place so that the regional health authorities, physicians and other health care professionals can do what is needed."

In reflecting on her term as president, Dr. Ballantine said, "Of all the issues and all the activities I've dealt with, physician health is closest to my heart." It also holds immense implications for patients and the health care system because there is already a major shortage of physicians in Alberta and in Canada. "If we don't take care of ourselves, how can we take care of others?"
Dr. Ballantine asked rhetorically.

Dr. Ballantine said that the eight-year trilateral master agreement between Alberta Health and Wellness, the AMA and Alberta's regional health authorities (April 1, 2003-March 31, 2011) has had successes but also "it is clear that the three parties have a considerable task ahead of them if the agreement is to achieve its promise."

Successes include the "huge willingness by family physicians and regional health authorities to set up primary care networks" and the computerization of physician offices and what this will mean for the province's electronic health record.

The AMA's Representative Forum and 100th annual general meeting is being held in Banff this weekend (Friday and Saturday). As well as being Alberta's centennial, this also marks 100 years of organized medicine in Alberta.

For more information or to request an interview, please see contacts below.

Contact Information

  • Alberta Medical Association
    Ronald Kustra
    Assistant Executive Director, Public Affairs
    Cell: (780) 990-4271
    Alberta Medical Association
    Shannon Rupnarain
    Manager, Public Affairs
    Cell: (780) 499-8285
    (780) 482-5445 (FAX)