The Alberta Government is lifting the cap on the number of visits a physician can fully bill.
Physicians will now be able to be fully compensated for every visit rather than receiving a discounted rate if they provide more than 50 visit services in one day. The change has been made in an effort to alleviate pressures on Alberta's healthcare system.
“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,” said Minister of Health Jason Copping.
The daily services cap was introduced as part of the Physician Funding Framework in 2020 in an effort reduce physician burnout as well as address fiscal restraint for the province. Rural physicians and physicians working in remote areas have been exempt from the current policy.
The agreement between the AMA and the province also includes a one per cent rate increase in each of the next three years and a one per cent recognition lump sum payment in 2022-23.
In addition to the lump sum payment, the government is working with the AMA to implement the one per cent rate increase for 2022-23. The increase applies to fee-for-service and alternative relationship plan rates, providing an additional $46 million to physicians.
Alberta’s government and the AMA are working together to distribute these increases across and within specialties. Increases will be effective April 1, 2022, and are expected to be finalized by March 31, 2023.