Loading articles...

Tentative agreement reached between Alberta doctors and Kenney government

Last Updated Feb 26, 2021 at 6:59 pm MDT

EDMONTON (660NEWS) — A tentative agreement was reached between the Alberta government and the province’s doctors Friday.

“Our tentative agreement allows for fiscal sustainability into the future, while maintaining a strong focus on patient care and fairness and equity for physicians,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in a release following the negotiations. “I am pleased that both parties could move forward and work together in a spirit of cooperation that positions us positively for the future. We have learned a lot from each other during this process and are building toward a renewed relationship based on collaboration and trust.”

The agreement comes after the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) voted 97 per cent in favour of non-confidence in Shandro.

Last August the AMA released a document providing details on doctor compensation after Shandro suggested a “Sunshine List” to make those dollars transparent to the public.

The AMA called that move an act of intimidation.

The document stated that for most doctors’ offices, overhead costs such as rent and utilities can range between 40 to 50 per cent of their total annual billings. The average family doctor in Alberta makes roughly $200,000 before taxes in annual income despite billing the health care system around $340,000.

While many doctors have expressed frustration and have left Alberta for other provinces, Shandro insists more doctors are actually registering in Alberta than leaving.

Following Friday’s meeting, AMA President Dr. Paul Boucher announced his satisfaction in the province’s ability to come to an agreement.

READ MORE: Alberta doctors look to provide the facts on compensation

“I am pleased to arrive at this opportunity to return to a collaborative relationship between the physicians of Alberta and government. For many years, AMA agreements have been powerful tools toward improving quality care that brings high value to the system and to patients. They are not just about funding for physicians,” Dr. Boucher said.

The process will now be given to the AMA’s governing body and the Representative Forum (RF), in which the RF will then provide advice to the board of directors.

Following that advice, the AMA board will decide if the agreement will proceed to a ratification vote by the AMA’s approximately 11,000 members.