Academic Alternative Relationship Plans

The majority of physicians in Alberta earn income under a fee-for-service payment model. But what about those physicians who also teach, do research and/or have leadership and administrative roles?

The Alberta government wants to make sure physicians affiliated with Alberta’s faculties of medicine are compensated in a way that supports their research, education and administrative activities; supports them for providing high quality patient care in a complex care environment while ensuring consistency across the province.

Alberta has a funding arrangement called Academic Alternative Relationship Plans (AARP) to pay these physicians. AARPs aim to achieve excellence in health through academic medicine and are dedicated to the provision of outstanding clinical, education, research and leadership services.  

AARPs have been successful in:

  • attracting and retaining needed specialists to the province; 
  • supporting innovative clinical practice; and
  • enhancing the quality of Alberta’s medical education and research.

The Alberta government has worked in partnership with Alberta Health Services, the University of Alberta and University of Calgary medical schools, and other stakeholders on an improved platform for AARPs. The improvements will better align the plans for the whole province and will feature clearer objectives and stronger accountability measures, more consistency, and clear requirements to demonstrate value for money.

The improvements will help physicians shift away from fee-for-service compensation to alternative payment models that increase stability and predictability of funding.

There will be a phased implementation to allow time for physicians on existing AARPs to move to the new framework. It is anticipated that new, multi-year AARP master agreements will be in place in 2017.

Alberta’s AARPs are a showcase for what can be achieved in academic medicine; they are platforms which have been successful in supporting excellence in the provision of health care, education and research. These nation-wide leading programs have enabled innovation across the pillars of academic medicine and attracted some of the best and brightest people, nationally and globally in academic medicine to our province.