Academic Alternative Relationship Plans

An Academic Alternative Relationship Plan (Academic ARP) is a funding arrangement with physicians who teach or research at Alberta universities or medical facilities.

Alberta physicians earn money by billing the government for patient visits or fee for service. If they donít bill for patient visits they donít earn any money. Fee for service has discouraged some physicians from dedicating time and energy to research and teaching because they need to focus on their practice. Academic ARPs guarantee payment for physicians so that they can be compensated for all these activities.

Academic ARPs have been successful in:

  • Attracting and retaining needed specialists to the province;
  • Supporting innovative clinical practice; and
  • Enhancing the quality of Albertaís medical education and research.

The funding models of Academic ARPs are designed to insure physicians are compensated in a manner which takes into account their contributions to the four pillars of an Academic ARP:

  1. Clinical service and innovation;
  2. Education;
  3. Research; and†
  4. Administration.

Academic ARPs are inclusive agreements that engage all relevant stakeholders including but not limited to: the involved university and faculty of medicine, the participating physicians, Alberta Health and Wellness, Alberta Health Services, the Alberta Medical Association, and other funding bodies and related ministries.

The process to create an Academic ARP begins by contacting Alberta Health Services and is followed by the submission of a Letter of Intent. The prospective program then begins the process of creating a program proposal which includes a service delivery plan, governance and accountability measures and both a budget and a workforce plan. The Academic Medicine Unit reviews and performs a budget analysis on the proposal for approval by the Deputy Minister.†Next, the†Academic Medicine Unit drafts the Legal and Conditional Grant agreements for the implementation of the program.

Alberta budgeted $229 million for Academic ARPs in 2010/11 and $274 million was forecast for 2011/12. The budget for 2013/14 has yet to be determined.

New framework for 2013

Currently, Academic ARPs are limited to only certain medical disciplines such as pediatrics, internal medicine, family medicine, neurosciences and neurosurgery and not in each university. The new framework has opened up Academic ARPs to physicians from all disciplines.

The Provincial Academic ARP will position Alberta ahead of other medical research centres with this innovative funding arrangement because of its coordination with both university research centres, the research sector, one health system and government support.

The framework aligns the research sector, the health system, the universities and the government and will position Alberta as a leader in medical research in Canada.

Developing the framework

The framework was developed between the Alberta Government, the Universities of Calgary and Alberta, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Innovates and the Alberta Academic Health Network. These partners will be working on the details of the Academic ARP over the next year and the formal arrangement will begin on April 1, 2013.

Benefit to Albertans

By providing physicians with the means to pursue excellence in clinical practice and medical research in our province, we will be the first to incorporate these innovations into practice so that we have better health outcomes. It will also draw the best and brightest physicians to the province because of the progressiveness of the medical research community.

There are 780 physicians paid under the current Academic ARP. That is expected to grow to 1140 when the new arrangement is in place.