Alberta Medical Association

Alberta Medical Association

April 17, 2007 16:36 ET

Alberta Physicians Decisively Ratify Agreement Designed to Attract and Retain Doctors in the Province

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - April 17, 2007) - Alberta's physicians voted decisively (91%) today in favor of a new agreement to make Alberta a more attractive place for physicians to practise, to stay and to put Patients First®.

With a 40% turnout, voting members of the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) ratified a trilateral financial agreement for 2006-08 between the AMA, Alberta Health and Wellness (AHW) and Alberta's regional health authorities (RHAs).

"Alberta's physicians have been faced with enormous pressure under Alberta's booming economy," said AMA President Dr. G.N. (Gerry) Kiefer. "Increasing patient loads and skyrocketing overhead costs for physician practices are a serious issue as Alberta competes nationally and internationally for physicians. Today's agreement is a significant step toward providing some relief and making Alberta a destination of choice for doctors."

"The new funding dedicated to physician recruitment and retention, such as the retention benefit and the clinical stabilization initiative, will go a long way towards first attracting physicians to Alberta and then keeping them here," explained Dr. Kiefer. He noted that Alberta requires 1,000 physicians today and 1,500 over the next three-to-five years.

The two-year fiscal agreement, which expires March 31, 2008, is one of two financial reopeners under an eight-year trilateral master agreement (April 1, 2003-March 31, 2011).

Dr. Kiefer said that the agreement addresses significant issues such as:

- Increases to the fee schedule of 4.5% as of October 1, 2006 and April 1, 2007

- A new retention benefit recognizing physicians for the number of years that they have practised in Alberta

- A new clinical stabilization initiative to address under-serviced areas under a provincial framework

- Special funding to address extraordinary increases in practice (overhead) costs

- Computerization of physicians' offices with continuation of the highly successful Physician Office System Program (POSP)

- Expansion of primary care networks under the Primary Care Initiative.

"I want to thank Alberta's physicians for their support of the agreement. I would also like to thank the Minister of Health and Wellness Dave Hancock for demonstrating his leadership and bringing this agreement to fruition," remarked Dr. Kiefer. Negotiations for this agreement began in the fall of 2005.

Patients First® is a registered trademark of the Alberta Medical Association.

Contact Information

  • Alberta Medical Association
    Ronald A. Kustra
    Assistant Executive Director (Public Affairs)
    (780) 482-2626 or Cell: (780) 990-4271
    Alberta Medical Association
    Shannon E. Rupnarain
    Director, Public Affairs
    (780) 482-0322