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Alberta Medical Association lists proposals for province to fix acute-care system issues

The Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton in a file photo. The Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton in a file photo.
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The president of the Alberta Medical Association has outlined what he wants the province to do to alleviate its acute-care system issues.

In a letter to AMA members on Thursday, Dr. Paul Parks wrote his proposals would improve acute care for Alberta's aging population, improve the flow of patients and attract more hospital staff.

Dr. Parks included five asks in his letter:

  • Modernizing Alternative Relationship Plans (rate review), including after-hours for ARPs, AMHSPs, capitation and blended capitation models.
  • Improving incentives for the provision of after-hours care.
  • Addressing physician availability through improvements made to the physician on-call program.
  • De-escalation of the stipend crisis.
  • Removal of further compensation reductions (such as AHS overhead and Z-code policies).

According to Dr. Parks, these would improve ER waiting times, surgical waits, after-hours care and specialist availability.

"For years we have been advocating for solutions to the major issues," he wrote in the letter. "Although we haven’t had the response we hoped for, we have never given up and we continue to evolve and refine the solutions we are bringing forward."

Some hospitals in Edmonton and other Alberta communities have been close to or over capacity in recent months.

In November, Premier Danielle Smith announced her government would dismantle Alberta Health Services and create a new health-delivery system.

In a statement Friday to CTV News Edmonton, Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said her ministry "has been working closely with the AMA to make meaningful change that benefits physicians and patients across the province" and mentioned an agreement between the province and the AMA ratified in September 2022 which included $780 million over four years "to help stabilize the health care system."

"It would appear given the comments raised that the AMA did not fully address all their members concerns in the last agreement," LaGrange said in the statement.

"Despite that, we want to continue to work with Dr. Parks through the tables we have jointly agreed on to get to better outcomes than exist now. These are complex matters requiring thoughtful consideration, and we will continue to collaborate with physicians and other critical front line health care providers in the province to resolve challenges facing the health system."

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