The salary increase agreement for doctors endorsed by Alberta
The salary deal between the Alberta Physicians Association and the Conservative government has gone through after it was ratified by the province's doctors.
Alberta's Conservative government is burying the hatchet with the province's doctors after a long period of negotiations. Monday's announcement of an agreement with the Alberta Association of Physicians (AMA) confirms a ratification process initiated with the association's 11,000 members who voted 70% in favor of the agreement reached with the government, in particular on the salary increase for doctors.
The details of the agreement were revealed during a joint press conference between the Health Minister Jason Copping and WADA President Dr Fredrykka Rinaldi. The agreement will help stabilize the health care system, target areas of concern and meet the health care needs of Albertans, says Jason Copping.
We were determined to rebuild our relationship with physicians based on trust and collaboration, he adds.
The agreement provides for a salary increase of 1% each year over a three-year period, between 2023 and 2025, and another increase for the fourth year, the terms of which will be negotiated later. Prior to that, the agreement provides doctors with a one-time lump sum payment for the current year, in recognition of their contribution in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
This lump sum payment amounts to approximately $45 million and will be given to the AMA who will distribute it to its members by [the end of the year], says Jason Copping in a release.
The agreement also includes a commitment from both parties to resolve long-outstanding disputes, including reviewing all physician billing codes, and removing the daily cap that prevented physicians from being paid on a regular basis. x27; they performed more than 65 medical procedures per day.
So, with this change, doctors will be fully compensated regardless of how many visits they charge in a given day, says the Minister of Health. We are making this change because we have heard from physicians, particularly ophthalmologists, family physicians and pediatricians who say this provision limits patients' access to health care, he adds.
The agreement also offers slightly larger salary increases for family doctors and mental health generalists, as well as for neurologists, obstetricians and gynecologists, pediatricians and psychiatrists, in order to balance wage disparities with certain better paid medical specialists.
For the president of the AMA, the temporary removal of daily service caps will allow doctors to care for more patients. This will improve access to care for patients […] It will also help stabilize the financial state of medical practices.
As promised, the province is committed to repealing as soon as possible the power that the Alberta government had given itself, which allowed it to unilaterally terminate any agreement with the AMA. It is by virtue of this power that the government imposed, in 2020, a new agreement on doctors, thus deteriorating relations between the two parties.
The AMA had to elsewhere made the decision to sue the province for what it said was a violation of its members' labor rights.
With this new agreement, WADA agrees to withdraw its legal action immediately after the government withdraws its power to terminate. The parties have agreed not to make any price adjustments for the first three years except for negotiated increases or a joint agreement on a change.
New Democratic Party (NDP) Health Critic David Shepherd thinks “Premier Danielle Smith continues to come up with some very strange and deeply disturbing policies regarding Alberta’s health care system.”
Official Opposition NDP Health Critic David Shepherd says the Conservative government is reaping the rewards of its own stewardship of the sector.< /p>
So these are definitely steps to bring a bit more stability after years of chaos under the PCU and its attacks on medical professionals, he says .
The action [Danielle Smith] took in firing the entire AHS Board of Directors, and her claims that she has fabricated the staffing crisis we have experienced during the pandemic, these are not measures that engender greater confidence in physicians, he notes.
With information from Audrey Neveu