With respect to income equity, within a new agreement the AMA will seek to ensure the following:
- There will be no reallocation under the interim measure.
- Reallocations among sections will be assessed and potentially implemented only once the full IEI project is completed and ratified.
- The AMA’s IEI principles and the goal of improving income equity over the life of any agreement will be included.
- The interim income equity measure, as developed by the AMACC, will be used to measure progress in the attainment of income equity goals and significantly inform the allocation of any new monies under any agreement.
- The completion of the full IEI, as defined in the IEI Implementation Plan and as directed by the RF, will be supported.
Differential allocation of new monies among sections is not new. Over the years, the AMA has used several formulas for developing an allocation recommendation to maximize value for patients and fairness to physicians. On that note, as per RF direction, there will be no movement of monies from one section to another (no reallocation), reflecting that this is an interim measure only and the full study – with member ratification – has not yet occurred. Reallocation will be considered as part of the overall IEI study.
What happens next
The AMACC is finalizing a technical report that will show each section’s relative ranking on the interim income equity measure as well as an overview of how the measure is calculated. This information will be provided to each section’s executive.
The Negotiations Committee has raised the income equity issue with government at a high level, and the government has agreed to include consideration of income equity in the current negotiations – that is positive because this is not a goal that the AMA can pursue on its own. The AMA cannot unilaterally make changes to the Schedule of Medical Benefits or the Physician Services Budget.
Physicians are key stewards of the limited public health care dollars that are available in Alberta. Inequitable payments can skew the delivery of services, whereby some services are more likely to be provided while others are neglected. Addressing income equity is one tool we can use to improve patient care and access because equity can help ensure that services are appropriately remunerated and available across the continuum of care. Income equity by itself isn't going to fix the health care system, but it is a key policy lever that can be used to increase value for patients and fairness to physicians. A comprehensive physician compensation framework remains a key priority for the AMA.
For further information, you can visit the IEI page (login required) of the AMA website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.