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Ensuring doctors have stable and predictable funding

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Alberta’s government is ensuring doctors have stable and predictable funding so they can focus on providing high-quality health care.

An agreement has been reached between the Government of Alberta and the Alberta Medical Association (AMA).

Many months of effective interest-based negotiations between Alberta Health and the AMA resulted in productive discussions that focused on our many common interests, and led to an agreement that supports shared priorities.

This agreement with its significant investments will provide a path forward to address the challenges the health system is currently facing. It contains concrete solutions, with financial resources behind them, to address these challenges. The agreement will stabilize the health system, target areas of concern and most importantly, will support Albertans’ health care needs.

The agreement will be in force for 4 fiscal years, from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2026.

A law allowing the government to terminate its agreement with the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) will be repealed if proposed legislation is passed. Bill 4, the Alberta Health Care Insurance Amendment Act, 2022, would repeal Section 40.2 of the Alberta Health Care Insurance Act. This section of the health care insurance act allows the government to terminate compensation-related agreements with the AMA.

Collaboration with the AMA continues as the new agreement is implemented. This includes lifting the daily visit services cap so there won’t be a daily cap on the number of visit services a physician can fully bill. The government is also working with the AMA to implement a one per cent rate increase for 2022-23 and a one per cent recognition lump sum payment for physicians’ significant contributions during the pandemic in 2021-22.

The new four-year agreement with the AMA will see the government invest an estimated $750 million to stabilize the health-care system. This includes $260 million in targeted funding to address pressures, including physician recruitment and retention programs so more Albertans can access family doctors, and more support for practice viability.

The new agreement puts a strong priority on primary health care, including a sliding scale of rate increases with the highest increases for family physicians at 5.2 per cent. With additional targeted spending including new supports for rural physician recruitment, spending on family medicine overall will increase by eight per cent over three years.

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