Alberta Medical Association

Alberta Medical Association

December 13, 2008 16:17 ET

AMA Board Endorses Proposed Deal With Alberta Health and Wellness and Alberta Health Services: Doctors Vote in January

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 13, 2008) - Alberta's physicians will vote by January 27 on a proposed, three-year $8.5 billion financial agreement between the Alberta Medical Association (AMA), Alberta Health and Wellness (AHW) and Alberta Health Services (AHS) covering the period April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2011.

Following a special meeting today with the association's governing body, the 124-delegate Representative Forum, the AMA Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse the tentative deal and send it to the membership for a ratification vote.

"The Board of Directors is encouraging Alberta doctors to vote Yes on this proposed agreement," said AMA President Dr. Noel W. Grisdale. "We believe it builds on the successes of our 2003 trilateral master agreement and the 2006-08 financial agreement. It allows the AMA to move forward with the government and the newly created Alberta Health Services on many important issues facing the health system."

Dr. Grisdale went on to explain that the agreement lays the foundation for significant work that lies ahead. "With all the changes coming in the health care system," he said, "this agreement is an opportunity for organized medicine to have input and to put Patients First®."

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

- Physician Services Budget:

-- $2.6 billion 2008-09

-- $2.9 billion 2009-10

-- $3.1 billion 2010-11

- Fee increases of 5%, 5% and 4.5% for each of 2008-11 years respectively

- Volume increases (3.2%, 4% and 3.8%) to cover increased number of patients or physicians

- Benefits to help retain physicians:

-- Continuing medical education allotments increased to $2,500 per physician (currently $1,300)

-- Retention Benefit payments (rewarding length of service) increased by 10% in
2008-09 and 2010-11 to a maximum of $12,100 per year per physician

- Improving and/or continuing programs

-- Business Costs Program to help physicians in high-cost centres to offset expenses of rent, staff, supplies, etc.

-- Rural, Remote, Northern Program to support physicians in those locations

-- Increasing payment rates for physicians to provide on-call services in Alberta Health Services facilities (5% in 2009-10 and 3% in 2010-11)

- Advancing primary care networks (PCNs)

-- Expand from current 30 PCNs involving:

--- 1,769 family physicians

--- 1.9 million Albertans

- Continuing to support computerization of physician offices with Physician Office System Program

-- Providing $5,000 to $20,000 for physicians who are required to change their current electronic medical record products in order to link with the provincial electronic health system

The tentative agreement must be ratified by a majority of approximately 8,200 eligible physicians. Physicians will receive ballots and the agreement by the end of December and have until January 26 to cast their votes. Ballots will be counted and the results announced January 27.

The 2008-11 tentative agreement completes the final term in the eight-year trilateral master agreement established in 2003. The master agreement was unique in Canada in marking the first time that health regions were included as partners in an agreement between the Alberta government and the AMA to compensate physicians, expand primary care services and support information technology for physician offices.

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

Contact Information

  • Alberta Medical Association
    Ronald A. Kustra, ABC
    Assistant Executive Director (Public Affairs)
    Cell: (780) 990-4271
    Alberta Medical Association
    Shannon E. Rupnarain, MBA, ABC
    Director (Public Affairs)
    Cell: (780) 907-9003