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A Seat at the Table: Winter Update

In an effort to provide you, our members, a more direct line of sight to the conversations we have with partners, decision makers, and influencers, the following is a summary of the last few months of interorganizational dialogue and aligned efforts:

Alberta Health

We meet regularly with leaders within Alberta Health such as the Deputy Minister, Assistant Deputy Ministers, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Executive Directors and Managers on various topics including COVID-19 response and moving to endemicity, the growing care deficit, Patient’s Medical Home implementation, physician supply, managing complexity in primary care (e.g., opioid poisoning, substance use, mental health, multiple chronic diseases, long COVID, healthy aging, palliative and end of life care), medical education, and continuing professional development. We believe that in the current provincial context our efforts to build awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the impact of policy and structures that support family medicine can have a greater impact when we work at the bureaucratic levels of government.

The ACFP received an invitation from Alberta Health to sit at a new strategic implementation committee called the Inter-Zonal Implementation Coordination Committee (IZICC) that is being struck to work on “getting things done” in collaboration with partners on primary care priorities in the province. We are currently looking at the implications of accepting the invitation.

Alberta Medical Association (AMA)

As our partners at the AMA continue to work toward an agreement for physicians in Alberta, we met with the Joint Physician Advocacy Committee (JPAC) (previously known as the Joint Task Force) to discuss approaches for advocacy, public awareness, and leadership of the profession. Current discussions are focused on responding to the care deficit in Alberta and how we can work together to ensure that physician leaders and representative organizations are involved in the planning and decision making as we work to catch up on screening, chronic disease management, and improving access to equitable patient care across the province.  We also are working closely with the leadership and teams at Accelerating Change Transformation Team (ACTT) to align our work toward priorities identified in the advancement of a fully integrated health care system where every Albertan has timely access to a Patient’s Medical Home and Neighbourhood.

Primary Care Alliance (PCA)

The PCA met and discussed the debrief of the November 22nd Forum with Minister Copping and AMA physician leaders regarding Primary Care in Alberta, the vision for the Integrated Health Neighbourhood of the Future (“PCA White Paper”), ACTT support services, Alberta’s Pain Strategy, ACFP’s Future of Family Medicine Initiative, and updates from all representative organizations on the Alliance.

College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)

As a Chapter of the CFPC, the ACFP President, Past President, and Executive Director meet regularly with CFPC’s CEO and Executive Director Dr. Francine Lemire, and the newly inducted President Dr. Brady Bouchard, to discuss how we can work together to serve our membership and respond to the provincial context for family medicine and primary care. We are currently discussing how the CFPC can advocate for Health Canada funding which is promised to flow to the provinces to support the advancement of strong primary care. We are also looking closely at how we can support family medicine through the impacts of the pandemic, increases in patient demand, decreases in physician supply, and the resulting fear and burnout that we hear about from our membership. Among many other member-facing projects and programs, we are collaborating with the CFPC to help plan and facilitate the regulatory requirement for reporting credits earned in practice quality improvement through the CFPC’s Mainpro+ system and creating more opportunities for access to more high-quality learning and earning credits automatically online through CFPCLearn.

Provincial CPD Network

The ACFP is a contributing partner to the newly formed Provincial CPD Network. Working with shared priorities, this network aims to ensure that limited resources available for medical education and continuing professional development are coordinated and optimally support Alberta-based physicians. Current work is focused on aligning and encouraging the practice quality improvement (QI) initiatives that will support physicians in the upcoming regulatory requirement to include this in their day-to-day practice. This network includes partners from the Universities of Alberta and Calgary’s CPD offices, Physician Learning Program (PLP), ACTT, ACFP, AHS Medical Affairs, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA).

We also have several other operational partnerships which our Medical Advisor, Communications team, Executive Director and other ACFP staff members work with that have been highly effective in building better communications to family physicians and primary care partners in Alberta, providing responsive feedback on developing initiatives, coordination of scarce resources, and effectively providing input into the issues of the day.

Watch for it…

As we embark on a new year, so many things are aligning on the need to reunite and discuss our future work. We need to continue to position our organization as one that supports and represents family medicine in Alberta, and we want to engage with you all in the coming months through several opportunities and events. Please watch for an invitation to participate in ACFP’s Future of Family Medicine Initiative, we want to hear your vision for the future, the road we need to take to get there, and to build positive and hopeful energy for all that family medicine can be.

In your service,

Terri Potter, BA, PMP, CAE
Executive Director

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My name is Smitha Yaltho and I feel privileged to work as a family physician. Why? I believe that being a family physician has been the best job any physician can hope to have. I have personally grown in my own abilities and skill-sets with diverse opportunities in ambulatory practice, acute care and work in Facility Living.  Working in primary care has been exciting and has also afforded me tremendous opportunities for growth while still remaining stimulating in its complexity.  I believe that Family physicians are trusted partners in patient care –  every step of the way. 

Why are you volunteering to serve on this committee?
I currently have an interest in Physician Leadership and  trauma informed care.  I have served as a director with the Board of Directors with the Edmonton North PCN, Edmonton’s largest PCN. Thereafter, I have worked as the Director of Medical Services with CapitalCare (also based in Edmonton) for almost 6 years. It is my express wish that my contribution on the ACFP board of directors will highlight the excellence of family medicine that exists right here and now within the Alberta health care system. 

What about the ACFP’s work do you find most valuable?
Ability to highlight and further support the excellence of primary care right here in Alberta.