Connect with us

Alberta

Province freezes funds for doctors and launches process to work out a new funding formula

Published

5 minute read

New physician funding framework announce

Alberta will maintain physician funding at $5.4 billion, the highest level ever, and implement its final offer to the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) to avoid $2 billion in cost overruns.

Existing terms will remain in place until March 31, 2020. A new funding framework will then be introduced, in a multi-year process that will require consultation with the AMA at all stages. The new framework will make changes proposed during negotiations to prevent cost overruns, align benefit programs and administrative fees with those of comparable provinces, and improve services for patients.

The eleven consultation proposals will also be implemented on March 31. This includes phasing in changes to complex modifiers, reducing the rate physicians can charge for this billing code to $9 from $18, for a period of one year before the code is removed in 2021-22. In summer 2020, at the direction of the Minister of Health, the Government of Alberta will also introduce a new alternative relationship plan (ARP) with built-in transition benefits to encourage physicians to move from fee-for-service to a three-year contract.

“Our province is facing cost overruns of $2 billion in the next three years due solely to physician compensation. If left unaddressed, these costs would impede efforts to reduce surgical wait times, improve mental health and addiction services, and expand the number of continuing care beds. Despite repeated efforts, the AMA failed to put forward alternatives that would hold the line on physician compensation. The new framework announced today will prevent cost overruns, allow our province to improve services for patients, and still ensure that Alberta’s doctors are amongst the highest paid physicians in all of Canada.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

Background

  • The new funding framework will maintain government’s current level of spending on physicians at $5.4 billion.
  • The new funding framework avoids anticipated cost overruns of $2 billion over the next three years.
  • Alberta has been spending more on physician salaries than other provinces, yet most of its health outcomes are below national averages.
  • A doctor in Alberta earns approximately $90,000 more than a doctor in Ontario and physicians’ fees have almost tripled since 2002.

Elements of the new funding framework

  • Changes to Alberta’s complex modifier billing system. The rate physicians are able to charge for complex modifiers will be reduced to $9 from $18 for a period of one year before this billing code is removed in 2021-22. Once the new framework is fully phased in, physicians will be able to bill an additional fee after spending 25 minutes with a complex patient case. Alberta remains the only province in Canada that allows for a top-up payment for complex visits.
  • Removal of the comprehensive annual care plan from the list of insured services. Currently, physicians can also bill for a similar consultation called a comprehensive annual visit. No other province in Canada compensates physicians twice for annual care consultation.
  • Implementation of a new daily cap, modelled after a cap in place in British Columbia, of 65 patients per day. Large patient loads can contribute to physician burnout and may compromise patient safety and quality of care.
  • Removing physician overhead subsidies from all hospital-based services. Physicians who work in AHS facilities should not be billing for overhead costs that their community physician colleagues face, such as leases, hiring staff and purchasing equipment.
  • Ending of clinical payments, or stipends, by AHS to physicians. This change ends duplication of payments to contracted physicians.

Timeline

  • In September 2019, government provided notice to the AMA that it intended to begin negotiations on the AMA Agreement. The notification provided time for the AMA to prepare its proposals.
  • In November 2019, negotiations began with the AMA to reach a new agreement; government began consultations on 11 proposed changes to the schedule of medical benefits (SOMB, or “insured services”).
  • In January 2020, negotiations and consultations proceeded with no agreement reached. Mediation, on both the negotiation and consultation proposals, began January 31 and continued into February.
  • The parties were not able to reach an agreement during mediation.
  • Government will implement its final offer from the negotiating table, including the 11 consultation proposals, on March 31.

Todayville is a digital media and technology company. We profile unique stories and events in our community. Register and promote your community event for free.

Follow Author

Alberta

WHL extends contract of commission Ron Robison for three years

Published on

CALGARY — The Western Hockey League’s board of governors has extended the contract of commissioner Ron Robison for three years.

Robison’s 22nd season as commissioner in 2021-22 will make him the longest-serving ahead of Ed Chynoweth’s 21 years between 1973 and 1979, and 1980 and 1985. 

Robison of Indian Head, Sask., joined the WHL in 2000 after 20 years as a Hockey Canada executive. His contract extension runs through the 2023-24 season.

The WHL has expanded by four teams during Robison’s tenure. 

The WHL and its Ontario and Quebec major junior league counterparts in the Canadian Hockey League were defendants in a lawsuit in 2020.

The CHL agreed to a settlement with players who argued they were professionals when they played in those leagues and sued for back wages and benefits.

Robison guided the WHL through the COVID-19 pandemic and delivered a shortened 2020-21 season.

“Over 21 years, Ron has done a tremendous job of continually elevating the Western Hockey League, including guiding the WHL through the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring all clubs were able to deliver a development season for WHL players,” WHL board chairman Bruce Hamilton said Friday in a statement.

“As we emerge from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ron’s continued leadership will be vital for the WHL to maintain its standing as a world leader in hockey development, player experience, and hockey scholarships.”

The WHL is comprised of 22 clubs from Manitoba to B.C., and in two U.S. states,

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Alberta

'Back to normal:' Alberta to lift all remaining COVID-19 public health restrictions

Published on

EDMONTON — Alberta will lift its remaining COVID-19 health restrictions on July 1, becoming the first province or territory in Canada to do so. 

Premier Jason Kenney says 70.2 per cent of Albertans aged 12 and over have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

He says that means it’s safe to return to normal after the vaccines take full effect in two weeks.

Alberta has administered about 3.6 million vaccine doses and almost one-quarter of those eligible have had the required two shots.

Some doctors have said the province needs to get more second doses administered to be fully protected against the Delta variant.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says people who received their first dose in May are now eligible to book their second doses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

june, 2021

tue04may(may 4)4:57 pmwed30jun(jun 30)12:00 pmMove Your Mood Family Challenge (June)(may 4) 4:57 pm - (june 30) 12:00 pm

Trending

X