The Alberta government learned that its doctors could safely handle more patients than the current cap during discussions with the Alberta Medical Association (AMA).

Albertans want to know that they can get medical care when they need it, and physicians want to be able to offer those services. Some of the immediate demands for services provided by general practitioners and specialists, including pediatricians and ophthalmologists, will be alleviated by modifying the daily cap policy. By removing the cap, physicians will receive full payment for each visit instead of the discounted rate they currently receive if they offer more than 50 visit services in a single day.

“We’re moving forward to implement the new agreement, starting with ending the daily visit services cap policy and working to put rate increases in place. We’ve heard from some physicians that the daily visit cap was having a negative impact on patient access, so this change addresses those concerns. It is also part of the new agreement with the AMA where we are listening to physicians and working with them as partners moving forward,” stated Minister of Health Jason Copping.

The AMA and the province also agreed to a one per cent rate increase each of the following three years and a one per cent lump sum payment for recognition in 2022–2023.

According to Dr. Fredrykka Rinaldi, President of the Alberta Medical Association “The AMA agreement allows physicians and government to work together on challenges facing patients and physicians in the health-care system. This early step to remove the services cap is an important example that will allow more physicians to care for more patients while helping to stabilize physician practices.”

Alberta physicians were at the forefront of the pandemic and the one-time payment for eligible practising physicians is in recognition of that work during the 2021-22 fiscal year. This lump sum payment is approximately $45 million and will go to the AMA to distribute to their members by the end of 2022.