This release was issued under a previous government.

Following 20 months of contract negotiations, Health Minister Fred Horne will implement key elements of a recent offer to the Alberta Medical Association, including a one-time lump sum payment, annual increases to fees, and continuing increased support for Primary Care Networks.

“We have the best doctors, and we want to attract and keep the best doctors. That’s why we pay them more than doctors in any other province and why we have acted to ensure they remain the highest paid in the country,” Horne said.

According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI), physicians in Alberta are paid, on average, more than doctors in all other provinces and 29 per cent higher than the national average. CIHI also reports that Alberta has seen a 60 per cent increase in the number of physicians in the past 10 years, the highest among all provinces and two and a half times the national average.

Government’s actions to improve physician compensation include:

  • A one-time lump sum payment of 2.5 per cent to each physician based on 2011-12 billings.
  • Annual increases tied to Cost of Living Adjustment in 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16.
  • Continuation of the one-year $12 per-patient increase for Primary Care Networks to the end of 2015-16.
  • The Business Cost Program will be extended for an additional year to the end of 2013-14. The Retention Benefit Program will end March 31, 2013. The combined funding of nearly $120 million for these programs will be reinvested in physician supports related to family practice and primary health care.
  • All other programs currently in place will continue.
The total estimated value of the changes is $463 million over four years.

“This compensation package reflects what I presented to the AMA as government’s best offer, recognizing both the value we place on our physicians and the fiscal reality facing our province,” Horne said. “I am disappointed that we were not able to reach an agreement on these issues, but I look forward to consulting with the AMA on other issues of importance to both parties.”

Government will continue to work with the AMA on other issues including the physician fee schedule, which both the AMA and government agree needs to be adjusted to reflect changes in practice and technology that have led to an imbalance among some specialties.

Backgrounder: Minister Horne’s letter to the President of the Alberta Medical Association

Media inquiries may be directed to:
Bart Johnson
Press Secretary
Alberta Health

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.