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Welcome to the Alberta Medical Association’s Section News – an opportunity for sections to report on their challenges  and objectives. This service helps sections communicate with all AMA members as well as physicians in their own specialties. Your feedback is encouraged. Please contact Agnes E. McIntyre, Administrative Assistant, Section Services: T 780.482.2626; TF 1.800.272.9680; email

May 2012

Primary Care Alliance ◊ Section of General Practice Dr. Ann R. Vaidya (Chair), President T 403.873.2352 F 403.873.2364 ◊ Section of Rural Medicine Dr. Allan S. Garbutt, President T 403.562.8804 F 403.562.2905 ◊ PCN Leads Executive Dr. Allan L. Bailey T 780.962.9888 ◊ Alberta College of Family Physicians Dr. Paul W.A. Humphries, Past President T 780.488.2395 The Primary Care Alliance (PCA), which includes the Section of General Practice, Section of Rural Medicine, the Primary Care Network (PCN) Physician Leads Executive and the Alberta College

of Family Physicians (ACFP), issues a joint Section News submission about current issues affecting general practitioners. All comments and feedback on the PCA Section News submission should be emailed to Ms Nella Papaianni, Manager, General Practice Liaison ( � Negotiations

The two-year interim agreement is still being finalized; ratification by Alberta Medical Association (AMA) membership is required to adopt the agreement. Details of this ratification process and a negotiations tour will be provided when available. Please watch for upcoming issues of the President’s Letter, which will outline these details and provide information on next steps regarding allocation. The PCA Board continues to receive updates from AMA senior staff on this matter. � April 23 provincial election and new cabinet

The Progressive Conservatives under Premier Alison Redford have returned to power with a majority mandate. In the April 24 issue of the President’s Letter, AMA President Dr. Linda Slocombe states, “It’s so important to advocate for a clear vision

regarding the future of health care, one with strong relationships and meaningful engagement of physicians and the public.”

uncertain if there is a requirement for a primary care SCN, a linked mental health and seniors SCN is being considered. An AHS clinical council/working group is being proposed to allow clinical input into SCNs and clinical networks (CNs). Possible PCA representation on this working group is being examined.

On May 8, Premier Redford named a new cabinet. Fred Horne (MLA, Edmonton-Rutherford) will continue his role as minister of health, and Dave Rodney (MLA, Calgary-Lougheed) was named associate minister of wellness, reporting to the minister of health. It is also important to note that the Ministry of Health is a consolidation of the former Seniors and Health and Wellness ministries.

• Primary care funding proposal: Grant Sorochan, director of the Practice Management Program (PMP) with the AMA, provided an update to the PCA Board regarding this issue. As reported in the last issue of Section News, a subcommittee was formed to explore ways to access the government’s $75 million fund for primary care. The subcommittee is waiting for information on the application process. (See below for more details.)

� Family Care Clinics (FCCs)

Michael Gormley, AMA Executive Director, and Sean T. Smith, Assistant Executive Director (Southern Alberta Office), joined the PCA Board meeting on April 27 to provide their input on the issue of family care clinics (FCCs). A general overview on the current status of FCCs was provided.

• Primary Care Accreditation Subcommittee: Grant Sorochan also provided an update on this subcommittee, which was formed in anticipation of discussions around accreditation processes for primary care (i.e., accrediting FCCs). The subcommittee terms of reference still need to be finalized, and no formal meeting has taken place. The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta has indicated interest in working with the AMA on this issue. There are various aspects that must be considered moving forward, such as what accreditation involves, the case for AMA involvement, future implications, costs, and administration logistics.

There is still not enough information about the nature and sustainability of FCCs; this poses a challenge to the AMA in providing support to affected physicians, including those working within primary care networks (PCNs). While FCCs can be a positive concept, there needs to be a discussion on how to incorporate them into the current system while keeping the focus on providing quality primary care. The AMA will involve the PCA and keep physicians informed as developments arise. � PCA Board meeting

• Open discussion with Dr. Richard Lewanczuk from AHS: Dr. Richard Z. Lewanczuk, senior medical director of primary care and chronic disease management with AHS, participated in an open discussion on primary care. Dr. Lewanszuk presented on various topics, including AHS restructuring, FCCs, and SCNs and CNs.

The PCA Board met on April 27. Highlights of the meeting include: • Pandemic planning: The PCA Board reviewed and discussed a draft pandemic planning document prepared by Alberta Health Services (AHS). Two primary topics of discussion were business continuity planning (the possibility of physicians’ offices closing during a pandemic and re-opening afterwards) and pandemic preparedness for community physicians.

• Strategic positioning for new government: Ronald A. Kustra, assistant executive director of public affairs with the AMA, addressed the PCA Board and presented preliminary results from public perception poll that was conducted. Finalized results will be provided to PCA when they become available.

• Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs): There are currently six SCNs (obesity, diabetes and nutrition, seniors health, bone and joint health, cardiovascular health and stroke, cancer care, addiction and mental health). Although it is

Alberta Medical Association


May 2012 Section News

• Encourage inter-PCN cooperation and explore the possibility of having multiple PCNs submitting proposals together. The possibilities of scope will range from very local and limited geographic boundaries to perhaps a province‑wide PCN initiative.

• Family care clinics (see above) • Negotiations (see above) � Calgary and Area PCN Physician Leads

– News conference

On April 12, the Calgary and Area PCN Physician Leads held a news conference to express their concerns with the Progressive Conservative party’s election proposal to roll out 140 family care clinics (FCCs). They expressed concern that FCCs will increase duplication, costs and inefficiency, which will ultimately result in fractured patient care. They also highlighted the fact that primary care networks (PCNs) are prime examples of team-based care at work, and suggested that government consider expanding and improving PCNs.

� PCN Physician Leads Forum (October 26-27)

Planning for the forum will begin shortly. Please mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details. Questions and suggestions for agenda topics can be forwarded to Linda Ertman (linda.ertman@ � PCA billing tips

Physicians are encouraged to submit their suggestions and ideas for beneficial billing tips from the PCA.

� Primary Care Funding Proposal Subcommittee

� Utilizing additional skills training

The Primary Care Funding Proposal Subcommittee (PCFP) held their first meeting on March 27. As mentioned in the last issue of Section News, this group was formed by the PCN Physician Leads to provide recommendations and guidance on a more coordinated approach for primary care providers when they submit proposals for the $75 million fund established by government to enhance primary care delivery.

The Section of Rural Medicine is aware of several cases where doctors with additional skills training (for a period of one year or more) are experiencing difficulty getting privileges to use these skills in rural sites. The Section believes there may be other similar cases that have not come to the attention of the AMA. If you have additional skills in any area (surgery, anesthesia, obstetrics, palliative care, care of the elderly, etc.) and you have experienced this difficulty while working in a rural or urban setting, please notify the PCA by email

The subcommittee is currently working on the following: • Seek immediate clarification from Alberta Health and Wellness (AHW) around proposals for the $75 million fund. • Produce a universal template to serve as a guide for the application process for those interested in exploring ideas in the absence of an application process.

Alberta Medical Association


May 2012 Section News

Section News May 2012  

Section News provides an opportunity for Alberta Medical Association (AMA) member sections to report on their challenges and objectives. May...