The Alberta government and the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) haven’t had the smoothest of times when it comes to negotiations for Alberta physicians.
But, on Thursday, the province announced Health Minister Jason Copping and AMA President Dr. Michelle Warren will return to negotiating on an agreement.
Both parties say they have agreed to take action on high-priority issues that can help support the stability of the system.
After some rocky periods with former Health Minister Tyler Shandro, including a vote that saw 97 per cent of the AMA vote in favour of non-confidence in Shandro, it seems the two sides want to make something work.
Some of the things both the AMA and province believe need to be acted upon include:
- COVID response;
- Physician compensation after the government agreed to delay the Dec. 31, 2021 implementation of Alberta Health Services stipends, Z-code fee reductions and AHS overhead policy;
- Improving access to virtual care and ensuring the best mode of care delivery is provided without having to worry about compensation.
The government says the next phase will involve working with labor and management facilitator Rick Wilson to prepare both sides for interest-based negotiations.
Both the AMA and government will seek to figure out an agreement where both sides can win and everyone’s needs can be met.