Physicians to sign amended agreement with province

by Morinville News Staff

Alberta’s physicians have ratified an amending agreement with province the government says will improve patient care. The amending agreement still needs to be signed by both parties.

The ratified amendments come after six months of negotiations. The agreement, which recognizes a shared responsibility to provide quality health care in a financially sustainable framework, is expected by the government to improve patient care and significantly slow the growth of health-care spending by the end of 2018.

The amending agreement includes a needs-based Physician Resource Plan that will help place doctors in the communities that need them, as well as primary care improvements, including new information technology and data-sharing. The agreement includes a new compensation model for some primary-care physicians, as well as academic physicians, to reward time and quality of care given to patients rather than just the number of services provided.
Additionally, new physician peer review and accountability mechanisms are included and the linking of certain benefits and compensation increases to performance on other cost-saving measures.

The Alberta Medical Association (AMA) members voting process started six weeks ago, and the final count shows 74 per cent of voting physicians were in favour of amending the existing 2011-18 master agreement.

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health, said the province was thankful to physicians for supporting the amendments and continued dedication to improving the health and well-being of all Albertans.

“As shared stewards of our health system, we now look forward to working together on changes that will improve accessibility to high-quality care and keep the health system sustainable in the long term,” Hoffman said.

Dr. Padraic Carr, President, Alberta Medical Association, said ratifying the agreement has physicians and government moving in positive new directions.

“We will work to moderate the rate of expenditure growth while maintaining quality care and providing greater value for patients,” Dr. Carr said. “The amending agreement will also contribute to a higher level of integration and increased efficiency in the system in the long term.”

The current master agreement with physicians will be amended, and the government and the AMA will now start negotiations on the overall master agreement which expires in 2018.

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