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A law allowing the government to terminate its agreement with the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) will be repealed if proposed legislation is passed.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.
Removing Section 40.2 would give Alberta’s doctors confidence that their funding is consistent throughout the contract so they can continue to grow their business to meet the changing needs of their patients.
“Alberta has the best front-line health-care workers in the world and we will work to have the right supports in place to ensure Albertans get the care they need when and where they need it. Repealing this legislation is part of our commitment to rebuild our relationship with physicians and we’re taking immediate action to fulfil that promise.”
As part of the new agreement with the AMA, the government committed to introduce legislation to repeal Section 40.2. In response, the AMA has agreed to stop its lawsuit against the government without seeking costs once the legislation receives royal assent.
“We appreciate this swift action to repeal Section 40.2. This process will encourage renewed collaboration to serve Albertans and our health-care system.”
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.