EDMONTON -- The Alberta Medical Association is planning to take the province to court.

The AMA announced the decision in a letter from President Christine Molnar on its website on Monday night.

Molnar cites the province’s decision to move forward with parts of a new physician funding framework.

The framework was announced in the provincial budget on Feb. 20, and has drawn criticism from doctors province-wide.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the calls became even louder, with doctors saying the changes to the funding framework would cause the healthcare system to buckle during the pandemic. Hundreds of Alberta doctors also signed an open letter to the province, asking for the changes to be postponed until the COVID-19 crisis passes.

The government had agreed to walk back some of the changes, but Molnar said she was informed on Monday that some of the changes would still be going ahead. 

“Today, we received his response stating that the government intends to proceed with the remaining elements of the framework on March 31,” Molnar wrote in the letter to AMA members on Monday.” I share your extreme frustration and disappointment with this decision. Adding further disruption and uncertainty to a health care system already under unprecedented pressure from COVID-19 is simply irresponsible and not in the best interests of the health care system and our patients.”

“The government’s actions warrant a strong response by the AMA. Our legal challenge is prepared and ready to launch. The Board will discuss the timing this week.”

There are currently 690 cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, and eight people have died.