Posted on Mar 17, 2020
UCP ADMITS ATTACKING DOCTORS DURING A PANDEMIC WAS A MISTAKE, BUT FAILS TO RESTORE ENTIRE CONTRACT
EDMONTON -- Health Minister Tyler Shandro today restored parts of the contract with Alberta doctors that he tore up in February. His planned cancellation of “complex modifier” billing codes has been shelved. However, other parts of his attack on doctors continue even as Alberta declares a public health emergency.
“It is an important step forward that Minister Shandro has begun to realize how irresponsible and dangerous his attack on doctors during a pandemic is,” said David Shepherd, NDP Opposition Critic for Health. “But it is incomprehensible that he is pressing forward with other changes that will weaken Alberta’s pandemic response.”
Doctors across Alberta have raised the alarm that the UCP changes to doctor compensation would devastate primary care. Clinics have already announced reduced hours and outright closures. Several rural doctors have resigned their positions at the emergency room.
There are 10 other changes to doctor compensation imposed by the province in February. The status of those changes is unclear. In addition, the province gave notice to radiologists only yesterday that it intends to terminate their contract.
“This is not a time for half-measures or grudging partial admissions of failure,” Shepherd said. “Doctors need clarity. Minister Shandro must own his mistake, make the simple common-sense choice, and restore the contract he tore up in its entirety.”