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  • March 20, 2015 - President's Letter | Alberta Medical Association
    to keep payments close to the national levels Another way to view the situation and general affordability is to plot the annual fee increases over time against the consumer price index CPI Alberta physician fees have been well below inflation for most of the last 40 years See this chart containing this information and the aforementioned interprovincial data The key point is that we need to make health care decisions based on comprehensive accurate information We know that government will be consolidating public sector negotiations under a centralized structure in the future My hope would be that this will allow for better collection of more accurate data We have been very consistent in telling government that we expect them to live up to the contract that took us three difficult years to negotiate In that contract government agreed to certain increases in rates cost of living in the next three years and they agreed that they were responsible for all other increases in costs related to increased utilization and other factors Having said that we can do a lot to increase efficiency and effectiveness within a new partnership with government and AHS as I mentioned above Another board report topic at the RF was negotiations with AHS There are many negotiations between AHS and physician groups The AMA provides a large amount of support in this area One of the biggest problems is the lack of a structured process leading to ad hoc arrangements characterized by protracted discussions widely varying agreements between sites for the same services and a lot of unhappiness for the physicians and for AHS I believe both parties would benefit from agreeing to a structure that involves recognition transparency mutually agreed processes and a method for dispute resolution This would help us bring a conclusion to current negotiations and hopefully develop a framework for more efficient bargaining in the future Finally there was a very good discussion at RF with Dr Trevor Theman CPSA Registrar and Dr Jim Stone President of the CPSA Council concerning the college s review of its standard related to out of hours coverage Dr Theman reiterated that the college was in no way suggesting that every doctor must be available for any type of request at any time What the council does want is a mechanism for every physician whether family doctor or specialist to provide appropriate coverage for out of office hours This means that a surgeon needs a realistic way to answer calls concerning recent operative procedures a doctor who orders a test must ensure that he or she can deal with a critical result and that a patient who needs some advice or guidance should be able to find it in a reasonable amount of time This may include the involvement of HealthLink and the use of practice groups who can provide basic information but also contact the primary doctor if more specific information is needed The college is very ready to accept innovative ways to do this

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/media-publications/presidents-letter/pl-archive/Mar-20-2015-Presidents-Letter (2016-02-01)
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  • March 27, 2015 - President's Letter | Alberta Medical Association
    be maintained at a lower cost Second we do know what will happen if we are not open to innovation Our patients will suffer There is no way to maintain access and quality reduce costs and continue to operate as we always have What is possible This raises more interesting questions What are the conditions under which true innovation can occur where we seek excellence and the bottom line at the same time What are the trade offs Who decides There are no answers to these questions yet The journey has just begun Government has stayed true to its commitment to honor its contract with physicians but we and our patients will be directly impacted by the immediate reductions to AHS and the reductions that are planned for the entire health sector We have a little time but the journey starts now So to be successful what does it take First we require objectives Lower cost has been placed squarely on the table but what about matters of system performance Access to primary care physicians Wait times and health outcomes Second there must be meaningful measurements tied to our objectives These need to be agreed to the information collected and then regularly reported to the public Third we will have to be open to innovation and the allocation of resources to what matters most Many of us feel for example that much could be gained through additional resourcing for primary care Where will this come from when overall the system is being squeezed for resources Fourth physician and other health care professionals have to be brought more into the picture We have critical information on how the current system works and how it can be improved We will not be successful if health professionals cannot be re engaged Finally it is about all of us I have written before about how any improvements will take the combined efforts of government providers and patients Engaging patients is key and the Alberta Medical Association s AMA s Voice of the Patient project which you will hear more about in the coming weeks can play a critical role in providing a forum for Albertans In all of this the AMA s focus will be on the issues of access and quality We will do our part to strive for efficiency but we ll also ensure that Albertans are aware of the fundamental trade offs between system costs and system benefits I welcome your thoughts Email president albertadoctors org or leave a comment below Regards Richard G R Johnston MD MBA FRCPC President 1 comment Commenting on this page is closed 1 Selby Frank Physician 2 11 PM on March 28 2015 It is going to be difficult to lean down an organization where 80 of the budget represents salaries Working to scope of training obviously does not apply to the many IMGs with Batchelor of Medicine AND Batchelor of Surgery degrees Privacy in this electronic age is a joke We are pleased to

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/media-publications/presidents-letter/pl-archive/March-27-2015-President%27s-Letter (2016-02-01)
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  • May 7, 2015 - President's Letter | Alberta Medical Association
    needs of our patients have not changed Nor has the commitment of Alberta physicians to build and maintain a system that puts Patients First We look forward to working with government in our efforts and under the Alberta Medical Association AMA Agreement In recent months I ve written to you about many areas where we can adapt within the system and simultaneously improve it These include primary care reform system efficiencies using data analysis to better inform our individual practice decisions and system management We will continue to advocate for and explore these opportunities for improvement I believe Ms Notley s government will have a great dedication to a strong and stable health care system I know that physicians are a significant source of leadership good information innovative ideas and proposals Additionally we are willing to walk the talk and serve as responsible stewards of resources the use of which is driven by the needs of our patients and our clinical choices I have heard this message from individual members in emails and letters and seen it supported resoundingly at the Representative Forum and Board of Directors Alberta doctors can and will work together with the Government of Alberta to make this a better place for patients The AMA will keep working to that end and I will keep you informed As always I would be pleased to know what you are thinking Please email president albertadoctors org or leave a comment below Regards Richard G R Johnston MD MBA FRCPC President No comments Commenting on this page is closed Website feedback Media Publications President s Letter President s Letter archive July 30 2014 President s Letter September 3 2014 President s Letter September 19 2014 Presidents Letter Oct 10 2014 President s Letter October 28 2014 President s Letter

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/media-publications/presidents-letter/pl-archive/May-7-2015-Presidents-Letter (2016-02-01)
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  • June 12, 2015 - President's Letter | Alberta Medical Association
    a platform for the AMA to push our own agenda It s really about listening to what patients want to talk about How is the website being launched For this first phase we will be promoting the website through physician offices Each AMA member with an office address on the AMA membership system will receive this launch package We have provided you with An 8 5 x 11 inch poster A single pad of 50 tear off sheets These materials simply feature the albertapatients ca address with the slogan Your voice matters The tear off sheets for patients to take away also include a bit of commentary about the project Please display the posters that you and your clinic colleagues receive in your reception area s hallways or your examination rooms as you feel appropriate Please leave the pad s of tear off sheets in a location that is visible and accessible to patients so they can help themselves Once you have made the material available in your office I hope you will respond positively if asked about the website and encourage your staff and colleagues to do the same If you feel comfortable you might point the website out to some patients and suggest that they join To assist in answering questions you or your staff might have please see the document Tips and Frequently Asked Questions It will take a relatively small number of patients from each AMA member office to get albertapatients ca off to a healthy start After that it s up to the AMA to ensure that the experience of being a member of the online community continues to be valuable and enjoyable I will let you know how the launch progresses As always your thoughts and comment are welcome Email president albertadoctors org or leave a comment below Regards Richard G R Johnston MD MBA FRCPC President 4 comments Commenting on this page is closed 1 Rod Morgan Physician 10 57 PM on June 14 2015 The AlbertaPatients is a very good idea but the AMA must set it up so that you don t attract people who are not serious and supportive of the principles of improving health care etc genuinely Withdraw the last feature you list above Win prizes Anyone really interested in improving health care and one who does not come from the fringe of our population should be self motivated when the opportunity presents and not feel that a prize is necessary to encourage him her to become involved Simply present the material clearly and on good topics and let those who feel genuinely interested in helping respond If you get insufficient answers then consider a reward but expect a lot of reward seekers who have axes to grind Good luck 2 Peggy Thomson Physician 11 46 AM on June 15 2015 Is the AMA preparing a position on the decriminalization of Physician Assisted Suicide to bring to the August CMA meeting in Halifax this August It seems likely that

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/media-publications/presidents-letter/pl-archive/June-12-2015-Presidents-Letter (2016-02-01)
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  • June 16, 2015 - President's Letter | Alberta Medical Association
    and staff We have a very complex billing schedule in Alberta one that can sometimes be overwhelming Fee Navigator is the first of its kind in Canada designed to help physicians understand the nuances of the Schedule of Medical Benefits SOMB and the proper use of fee codes Fee Navigator reflects the knowledge that AMA staff have amassed over many years of providing billing seminars individual billing advice and developing billing tips for members We have linked what we have learned to multiple relevant data sources about the SOMB and provided it all in a central tool In addition to general understanding of the SOMB and its rules by using Fee Navigator you can also receive helpful advice about how to reconcile claims for various health service codes that have been reduced or refused Fee Navigator was piloted with a varied group of physicians from beginner to advanced technology skills in rural and urban practices Feedback from these testers helped us to refine the tool Early adopters of Fee Navigator have commented that they instantly bookmarked the site on all their devices and are continuing to recommend it to their peers To access the Fee Navigator on your computer or smartphone go to www albertadoctors org feenav Add this as a bookmark or as an icon to your home screen for quicker access We plan to update the Fee Navigator regularly with helpful billing information News for Docs Each of us is bombarded with information every day from every direction On that note thank you as always for taking time to read the President s Letter As physicians we are affected by what s happening in our province and country Yet keeping up with provincial and national health care news and medical affairs can be a particular challenge That s why the AMA has developed News for Docs delivered Monday to Friday right to your email inbox Monday s issue captures the weekend s news We scour news sources each day to provide you with a carefully curated batch of the most relevant political economic and medical affairs news stories and leading opinion pieces from Alberta and across Canada These items are prioritized for easy scanning and reading To subscribe to News for Docs visit the subscription page www albertadoctors org media publications publications news for docs We hope that Fee Navigator and News for Docs will add some ease and value to your everyday life As always I m happy to know what you think about these or other matters Email president albertadoctors org or leave a comment below Regards Richard G R Johnston MD MBA FRCPC President No comments Commenting on this page is closed Website feedback Media Publications President s Letter President s Letter archive July 30 2014 President s Letter September 3 2014 President s Letter September 19 2014 Presidents Letter Oct 10 2014 President s Letter October 28 2014 President s Letter November 5 2014 President s Letter November 18 2014 President s Letter December

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/media-publications/presidents-letter/pl-archive/june-16-2015-presidents-letter (2016-02-01)
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  • August 14, 2015 - President's Letter | Alberta Medical Association
    must have been a difficult decision to make and we respect the choice she has made In the next several months there are important steps to be taken These include maintaining continuity of quality laboratory services through the transition to ensure appropriate access for patients There will also be a review to determine the best approach to service delivery in the long term Then we will require an implementation plan for needs identified by the review The major concern for all of us is that Albertans have access to high quality laboratory services The medical profession is willing and well positioned to provide input for the work that lies ahead The Alberta Medical Association has offered our assistance in an advisory capacity The minister has expressed her appreciation for our offer and we will be arranging to get together as soon as possible I will keep you posted as I have news to report I always appreciate any comments you care to make Email president albertadoctors org or leave a comment below Regards Richard G R Johnston MD MBA FRCPC President No comments Commenting on this page is closed Website feedback Media Publications President s Letter President s Letter archive July 30 2014 President s Letter September 3 2014 President s Letter September 19 2014 Presidents Letter Oct 10 2014 President s Letter October 28 2014 President s Letter November 5 2014 President s Letter November 18 2014 President s Letter December 5 2014 President s Letter December 31 2014 President s Letter January 20 2015 President s Letter January 30 2015 President s Letter February 13 2015 President s Letter February 27 2015 President s Letter March 20 2015 President s Letter March 27 2015 President s Letter May 7 2015 President s Letter June 12 2015 President s

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/media-publications/presidents-letter/pl-archive/aug-14-2015-presidents-letter (2016-02-01)
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  • August 21, 2015 - President's Letter | Alberta Medical Association
    patients This included considering three categories Advancing the meaningful use of electronic medical records EMRs Promoting appropriateness in the use of health resources through activities like Choosing Wisely Alberta and the local development of clinical pathways Finding ways to align physician compensation with system objectives such as a voluntary alternative relationship plan for primary care The board has overseen these discussions and will continue to do so What happens next The second phase of discussions has just begun focusing on the three categories mentioned above We are looking for specific deliverables that the parties can agree to focus on and support together In my mind the issues of focus and commitment are key Alberta does not suffer from too few ideas or lack of ability to start new ventures Rather we often try to do too much at once and don t follow through on our execution The parties share the overall vision of a strong primary care foundation within an integrated health care system but can we agree on our next steps to get there We have been discussing numerous options I should note that these things are intended to support and build on not replace current major activities within the system Principal amongst these is Primary Care Network Evolution intended to strengthen primary care within an integrated system Meaningful use of EMRs clinical pathways and compensation alignment are all necessary components for progress The AMA has very much appreciated the opportunity to work with AH and AHS to explore ways to make more of our relationship and collaborate to improve the system for patients I think all parties have demonstrated open minds and good intentions A vote if required Any expansion of scope or modification of the existing AMA Agreement would require a ratification vote by physicians There is still a long way to go and I cannot state with any certainty that there will be a formal package for you to consider in the next few months I will say that in my view we need meaningful change and physicians must be part of leading it At the end of the day when we consider what has been achieved in these discussions these are some conditions that I believe will determine our success or failure Clear deliverables that provide value to physicians and the system and some early wins Strong AMA AH and AHS commitment and sharing of resources Clear mechanisms for the measurement and sharing of any gains We will do our best to keep you posted in the weeks and months ahead As always your comments are most welcome Please email president albertadoctors org or post a comment below Regards Richard G R Johnston MD MBA FRCPC President No comments Commenting on this page is closed Website feedback Media Publications President s Letter President s Letter archive July 30 2014 President s Letter September 3 2014 President s Letter September 19 2014 Presidents Letter Oct 10 2014 President s Letter October 28 2014 President s

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/media-publications/presidents-letter/pl-archive/aug-21-2015-presidents-letter (2016-02-01)
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  • September 21, 2015 - President's Letter | Alberta Medical Association
    fund what In the current financial environment finding resources to carry out any of these initiatives will call for reallocation of existing commitments not new dollars If all the working group proposals were undertaken it s estimated the costs would run about 20 million a year for four years a significant amount although small relative to the annual provincial spend of almost 18 billion on health care The profession s contribution could come from a variety of sources such as repurposing some of the benefits and programs to fund the proposed initiatives Other approaches could also be helpful such as introducing flexibility in programs like Continuing Medical Education AH and AHS will also have to demonstrate their commitment and contribute necessary resources They will need to decide if they are willing to do so just as we will How will we know if we are successful and how will success be shared For some initiatives the outcomes are pretty clear For example in terms of secure messaging as explained in the attachment we want a product that the profession finds useful and that will assist in meeting the privacy and security recommendations of the Canadian Medical Protective Association and the College of Physicians Surgeons of Alberta Ultimately it must lead to more efficient and effective sharing of medical information and could provide the basis for patient to doctor communication as well For clinical pathways the measurement is more difficult and the allocation of success the more efficient utilization of lab radiology and other medical resources more complicated Next steps 1 The AMA Board of Directors had its first discussion of the working group reports on September 16 The Representative Forum will receive a full report and provide input at its meeting September 25 and 26 2 AH and AHS will also be considering their own take on the discussions and deciding what they want to do Joint meetings at a senior level will also be important 3 Three initiatives will move forward Primary care alternative payment option There are key tasks that remain in this initiative All parties recognized the importance of the project and will continue to use best efforts in its development There are still issues to be resolved such as the resourcing of the necessary change management support Secure messaging The AMA will continue in its efforts to introduce secure messaging so that physicians can securely share patient information To get the most out of this initiative will require collaboration among all the parties Negotiating framework The AMA and AHS will continue to work toward achieving this framework which we hope will led to more effective and efficient negotiations process where AHS is the payer A balanced and transparent dispute resolution process will be an important component 4 Some of the initiatives being discussed can take place under existing arrangements secure messaging is a good example Others however which call for the reallocation of resources will require some form of agreement In that case ratification would be

    Original URL path: https://www.albertadoctors.org/media-publications/presidents-letter/pl-archive/presidents-letter-sept-21-2015 (2016-02-01)
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