Alberta health minister says 2020 changes to doctor billing wrong, won't be repeated

·1 min read

EDMONTON — Alberta’s health minister says it was a mistake a year ago to try to make changes to physician payments on extended patient visits.

Tyler Shandro says changing complex modifiers was a policy that should never have been pursued and won’t be implemented in the future.

Complex modifiers were the centrepiece fight between physicians and the government over the last year, with some doctors threatening to close their doors or practise so called cut-rate “10-minute medicine.”

Shandro made the comment as rank-and-file physicians are now voting on whether to ratify a new master agreement between the province and the Alberta Medical Association.

The United Conservative government unilaterally cancelled the last master agreement with the AMA a year ago and began implementing the disputed changes.

Soon after, Shandro rolled back on most of them as the COVID-19 pandemic took over and some physicians began withdrawing services.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2021.

The Canadian Press