Alberta’s physicians have ratified an amending agreement with government that will improve patient care.
The amending agreement still needs to be signed by both parties.
The voting process for Alberta Medical Association (AMA) members started six weeks ago. The final count shows that 74 per cent of voting physicians were in favour of amending the existing 2011-18 master agreement.
“We thank Alberta’s physicians for their support of these amendments and their dedication and commitment to improving the health and well-being of all Albertans. As shared stewards of our health system, we now look forward to working together on changes that will improve accessibility to high-quality care and keep the health system sustainable in the long term.”
“In ratifying this agreement, physicians and government are moving in positive new directions. We will work to moderate the rate of expenditure growth while maintaining quality care and providing greater value for patients. The amending agreement will also contribute to a higher level of integration and increased efficiency in the system in the long term.”
The ratified amendments come after six months of negotiations and are based on a tentative agreement announced Aug. 31. The agreement, which recognizes a shared responsibility to provide quality health care in a financially sustainable framework, is expected to improve patient care and significantly slow the growth of health-care spending by the end of 2018.
Key points in the amending agreement include:
- A needs-based Physician Resource Plan that will help place doctors in the communities that need them
- Primary care improvements, including new information technology and data-sharing
- New compensation models for some primary-care physicians, as well as academic physicians, to reward time and quality of care given to patients rather than just the number of services provided
- New physician peer review and accountability mechanisms
- The linking of certain benefits and compensation increases to performance on other cost-saving measures.
The current master agreement with physicians will now be amended. The government and the AMA will immediately start negotiations on the overall master agreement that expires in 2018.