Sunday, October 2, 2016

-Hoffman said she instead wanted a more integrated, public system across the province for lab services. The government and AHS are now considering various options to make this work, including an expansion of the model used in Calgary, where the service is provided by a subsidiary of AHS.-----------Friday’s announcement was applauded by various labour groups, including the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, which represents most of the province’s lab workers. “By eliminating duplicate administration and the need for private profit, public funds can now be directed 100 per cent to better resourcing and staffing our laboratory services,” advocacy group Friends of Medicare added in a statement.---The transition of laboratory services back to the public sector was signalled more than a year ago when Health Minister Sarah Hoffman abruptly cancelled negotiations with an Australian company, Sonic Healthcare. Sonic had been chosen over Dynalife for a $3-billion, 15-year contract by the previous Progressive Conservative government. The government spent about $4.5 million on the request for proposal process. Nearly $3.75 million of that was spent under the Tory government. Hoffman's cancellation of the contract incurred a penalty of more than $800,000.------------Under the terms of the deal, AHS will pay Dynalife $50 million for its assets and become the new employer of the company’s 1,200 staff, including managers. The company will also receive another $15 million over the next five years to ensure lab equipment is upgraded, which will become AHS property when the takeover occurs.----------“If we had to start from scratch, we would have to post for positions, which is an onerous process. So this is a more efficient way of acquiring services … rather than building from the ground up.”-----

Recently I read that we will be paying a major sum of cash to buy out the private laboratory provider and assume the laboratory services in the public sector again.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-health-services-to-buy-out-dynalife-transfer-services-back-to-province-1.3785100

EXCLUSIVE

Alberta Health Services to buy out Dynalife, transfer services back to province

Dynalife expected to receive $50-million transition payment from AHS

By Jennie Russell, Charles Rusnell, CBC News Posted: Sep 30, 2016 5:00 AM MT Last Updated: Sep 30, 2016 5:00 AM MT
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman (CBC)

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Alberta Health Services plans to buy out the private laboratory testing company Dynalife and transfer the services back to the province, effectively ending private lab services in the province.
Sources have told CBC News that under an agreement expected to be announced soon, AHS will pay Dynalife $50 million when its recently extended contract ends March 31, 2022.
AHS is expected to hire all Dynalife staff, including unionized lab workers and non-unionized managers. Dynalife employs about 1,200 people and provides lab testing services for Edmonton and northern Alberta.
Under the agreement, AHS will pay Dynalife another $15 million during the life of the contract to ensure equipment is upgraded. It is expected Dynalife will continue to lease space for its main laboratory in Edmonton from AIMCo, the investment arm of the Alberta government.
AHS and Dynalife are expected to have a transition plan in place by Oct. 1, 2018 and a system for working out any disagreements.
The transition of laboratory services back to the public sector was signalled more than a year ago when Health Minister Sarah Hoffman abruptly cancelled negotiations with an Australian company, Sonic Healthcare.
Sonic had been chosen over Dynalife for a $3-billion, 15-year contract by the previous Progressive Conservative government.
The government spent about $4.5 million on the request for proposal process. Nearly $3.75 million of that was spent under the Tory government. Hoffman's cancellation of the contract incurred a penalty of more than $800,000.

Health minister ordered study

Dynalife had provided lab services under contract to the province for more than 20 years. It had appealed the Sonic decision, arguing the request for proposal process was fatally flawed. An AHS panel conducted a review and agreed with Dynalife.
Hoffman subsequently allowed Dynalife to continue providing lab services while a study was conducted to determine whether a private company, the government, or a combination of the two could best provide lab services.
tp-dynalife2
Alberta Health Services plans to buy out lab testing firm Dynalife, CBC has learned.
In an interview with CBC News in August 2015, Hoffman dismissed opposition criticism that she already had enough information to make an informed decision.
"I would assert that the opposite is in fact true," Hoffman said. "I think the important thing for me to do as a minister is to do my due diligence in choosing a model moving forward, so that it can be well staffed and supported, and that Albertans and the health professionals who rely on those services can have confidence that they will be there when they need them."
Hoffman said she "wasn't confident" in the information used to choose Sonic, "so that is why we are doing this study; to make sure that we can make the best decision for all Albertans."
Last month, Alberta Health Services announced it would extend Dynalife's laboratory services contract for another five years, a decision Hoffman said would allow an AHS administrative team to explore options for an "integrated system provincewide."
Dynalife runs northern Alberta's primary testing facility and 27 community sample collections sites in Edmonton and surrounding area, along with five collection sites and four health centre locations in northern and central Alberta.


@jennierussell_ @charlesrusnell

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2016/09/30/ndp-government--announces-alberta-health-services-to-take-over-dynalife-labs-in-2022

NDP government announces Alberta Health Services to take over Dynalife labs in 2022



FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016 03:50 PM MDT | UPDATED: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016 07:21 PM MDT
DynalifeLaboratory assistant Rose Gloria at work in the Dynalife central lab facility in Edmonton.
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The NDP government is making good on its vow to bring medical lab services under greater public control, announcing a new deal that will see Alberta Health Services take over the testing now done by private company Dynalife.
The agreement will take effect in March 2022, when Dynalife’s recently extended service contract to serve Edmonton and northern Alberta expires.
Under the terms of the deal, AHS will pay Dynalife $50 million for its assets and become the new employer of the company’s 1,200 staff, including managers. The company will also receive another $15 million over the next five years to ensure lab equipment is upgraded, which will become AHS property when the takeover occurs.
“The $50 million allows us to assume the equipment, the assets, vehicles, infrastructure, desks and so on. And we get a trained workforce out of it,” said Mauro Chies, vice-president of clinical support services for AHS.
“If we had to start from scratch, we would have to post for positions, which is an onerous process. So this is a more efficient way of acquiring services … rather than building from the ground up.”
The change will effectively consolidate all of Alberta’s medical testing under the public umbrella, since Dynalife is currently the only private provider in the system.
The announcement represents a complete reversal from AHS’s plans as of last year, when the health authority was on track to outsource all of the medical testing in the Edmonton region to a single company.
Australia-based Sonic Healthcare won a controversial bidding process over Dynalife, putting it in line for a $3-billion, 15-year contract that would have included construction of a new super-lab facility.
But before any outsourcing deal could be signed, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman abruptly shut down the plan, saying she didn't want to engage in "costly experiments in privatization."
Hoffman said she instead wanted a more integrated, public system across the province for lab services. The government and AHS are now considering various options to make this work, including an expansion of the model used in Calgary, where the service is provided by a subsidiary of AHS.
Chies said use of private providers in the future is also possible, if it is determined they can provide a benefit.
Until the takeover, Dynalife is expected to continue to operate from the downtown central lab facility it rents from the government-owned Alberta Investment Management Corp.
Planning has begun for a new laboratory building in Edmonton that can accommodate a greater volume and variety of medical tests, though the government has yet to provide any estimates of costs or construction timelines.
Friday’s announcement was applauded by various labour groups, including the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, which represents most of the province’s lab workers.
"By eliminating duplicate administration and the need for private profit, public funds can now be directed 100 per cent to better resourcing and staffing our laboratory services,” advocacy group Friends of Medicare added in a statement.
However, opposition parties characterized the move as another example of ideological decision-making by the NDP that will increase centralized bureaucracy and costs to taxpayers.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said the government has a pattern of such choices, including Hoffman’s decision earlier this year halt AHS plans to outsource laundry and linen services. That decision could put the province on the hook for expensive upgrades to current aging laundry facilities.
Progressive Conservative health critic Richard Starke called on Hoffman to provide the business case for the $50-million expense, adding the move smacks of political patronage to labour groups that back the NDP.
Hoffman fired back that the former outsourcing plan, conceived under the last PC government, would have been much more costly and exposed the public to greater risk.
Dynalife currently handles more than half of the medical testing in the Edmonton region and northern Alberta. The company has been in operation for more than 20 years, building a generally strong track record over that time.
As such, the government may face a challenge convincing Albertans that a change is necessary, or that a publicly operated system can run as efficiently or as effectively.
“Dynalife has provided exceptional service … but the beauty of this transition going in is that we have their knowledge and intellect to build upon for a new lab services model,” Chies said.
Hoffman added a fully integrated public model will make it easier to share lab results throughout the health system.
Details on how the transition will be carried out are due Oct. 1, 2018.
kgerein@postmedia.com
twitter.com/keithgerein


*******************

I may be reading this article wrong but apparently it is cheaper for the public to pay $50 million than to go look for new staff and equipment.  Hmmm..
http://www.edmontonsun.com/2016/09/30/ndp-government--announces-alberta-health-services-to-take-over-dynalife-labs-in-2022

“If we had to start from scratch, we would have to post for positions, which is an onerous process. So this is a more efficient way of acquiring services … rather than building from the ground up.”

******************************************

Laboratory services in Alberta has come full circle since the Klein error times. Heck even before the Klein error  We used to have the laboratory services in the public sector and it was done at a significant cost until the Klein error time when we had the system upended in many ways and laboratory services were handed on a silver platter to folks for whatever reason.
The folks in Edmonton seemed to have been able to run the laboratory services but those in Calgary I seem to remember got their work transferred to the health authority. That is what I recall of the business.

In any case, we now have the transfer of the lab services back to the government sector. Besides increasing the number of folks who will now vote for the NDP for this public sector transfer in, I am curious what the cost benefit analysis was for this decision.
Let me go look at the article I read and then think about questions.

https://www.facebook.com/friendsofmedicare/
RELEASE: Friends of Medicare are elated to hear reports that Alberta Health Services intends to purchase private lab services company Dynalife for $50 million in 2022 when its new 5 year contract expires.
Friends of Medicare along with laboratory front line staff and stakeholders have been advocating tirelessly to prevent the privatization of lab services in the Edmonton area.


Friends of Medicare are elated to hear reports that Alberta Health Services intends to purchase private lab services company Dynalife for $50 million in 2022 when…
FRIENDSOFMEDICARE.ORG

Sad
Comment

I am curious what the cost benefit analysis is for the purchase of Dynalife. I note that I am not able to comment on this post. Maybe Friends of Medicare are able to provide this information since I doubt that government will indicate that it is cost effective to do this transfer to the public sector when it was being done so well in the private sector. This appears to be a purely ideologically driven decision but maybe there are benefits that someone can indicate to us as taxpayers with a rapidly increasing debt burden?




********************
The only thing I have learned from watching political parties is that they do whatever they want to do despite the costs to the taxpayers. When the Klein error guy was in place we had the destabilization of the health care system, blowing up of hospitals that could have been repurposed and the laying off of health care staff. With the Notley error folks we have the reverse of the Klein error cuts with the increase in the public debt, increase in the number of public servants and no sort of cost benefit analysis to indicate that the public sector will do the work of laboratory services in any better or cheaper fashion than the private sector has done.

It's a neat cycle to observe in laboratory services and the progress of the NDP on their own ideological mission seems to me a copy cat path that the PCs have already trod these past four decades. Only problem is that the NDP folks only have four years and not four decades to do their ideological decisions and they're apt to be reversed yet again with more public money down the drain.

Does no one at Alberta Health make decisions based on cost benefit analysis and savings to the public purse?
And where the heck is this study?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-health-services-to-buy-out-dynalife-transfer-services-back-to-province-1.3785100

Health minister ordered study

Dynalife had provided lab services under contract to the province for more than 20 years. It had appealed the Sonic decision, arguing the request for proposal process was fatally flawed. An AHS panel conducted a review and agreed with Dynalife.
Hoffman subsequently allowed Dynalife to continue providing lab services while a study was conducted to determine whether a private company, the government, or a combination of the two could best provide lab services.
***********************************

I find the study here:
https://d10k7k7mywg42z.cloudfront.net/assets/5728f685d4c961739d073381/HQCA_Moving_ahead_on_transformation_of_laboratory_services_in_Alberta_January_18_2016_FINAL.pdf
And I see that all the ducks were put in a row in all sectors of the society.

1) First the unions bleat about the benefits of public laboratory services.


http://www.hsaa.ca/news/news-interest/opinion-profit-hospital-labs-simply-dont-work

OPINION: FOR-PROFIT HOSPITAL LABS SIMPLY DON'T WORK

      
Oct 30, 2013
By Ross Sutherland, Edmonton Journal October 30, 2013 9:04 AM
The Alberta government is proposing to give the private sector a 15-year contract to run medical laboratory services in Edmonton. This policy meets the popular definition of insanity: a condition where you do the same thing again expecting a different result. The government proposal has been tried many times before, twice in Alberta, and it has not worked.
In 1996, premier Ralph Klein sought a private-sector provider to deliver all laboratory services in Calgary. The trouble was that none of the companies wanted the work. In the end Klein cajoled MDS and Kasper Labs into partnering with the regional health authority to form Calgary Laboratory Services. The public sector put up more than 50 per cent of the funding, provided the administrative back up and all of the work. Even so, by 2006 all of the private-sector partners had left and Calgary Laboratory Services continues as an integrated fully public non-profit medical laboratory provider.
In Edmonton, Klein forced three local private-sector labs to join forces with the giants, Gamma-Dynacare and MDS, to form Dynacare-Kasper Medical Laboratories (DKML). DKML was given the contract for most of Edmonton's laboratory services. All hospital laboratories, except at the University of Alberta, were turned into rapid response laboratories and managed by DKML.
It did not work. By 2005, all of Edmonton's in-patient laboratory services were back under hospital management. DKML transformed into DynaLIFE, a partnership wholly owned by LifeLabs, the fourth largest laboratory company in the world, and Gamma Dynacare, a subsidiary of LabCorp, the second largest laboratory company in the United States. Dyna-LIFE continues to provide community laboratory services and run the laboratory in the Fort McMurray Hospital.
In the mid-1990s, MDS (now LifeLabs) and the Toronto General Hospital (now part of the University Hospitals Network), also tried a similar public-private partnership to serve both community patients and in-patients in downtown Toronto. The for-profit company gained access to public investment and the hospitals provided all the space, the staff and the administrative backup.
The partnership was dissolved in 2009. The hospitals took over all laboratory work and the stand-alone community laboratory closed. Serious attempts to integrate hospital and community laboratories under a private-sector provider have also failed at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital and in eastern Ontario.
These failed projects illustrate that commercial companies are hesitant about taking on the risks inherent in hospital care.
Hospitals, by their nature, have fluctuating volume requirements and more individualized testing while private providers prefer a more predictable routine. Large hospitals need large, comprehensive in-house laboratory services to reduce turnaround times. This fact limits what can be effectively moved off site.
To compensate for these higher risks, private companies demand excessive payments to assure a reasonable profit return - an arrangement that has proved unsustainable for regional health authorities and provincial governments. Laboratory medicine is also evolving rapidly making longterm contracts difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate.
On the one hand, too many tests are currently ordered and, hopefully, with better protocols and changing health-care delivery organizations the number of tests will drop, in some cases dramatically. To ensure their profit, private companies would need to build capacity for the current volume and would, in a contract, rightly expect payments to reflect that volume for the life of the contract. This means if we meet the desirable goal of cutting unnecessary tests, we would end up paying for tests that are not done.
On the other hand, as our medical understanding grows, high quality care we will mean new tests and procedures. These tests cannot be anticipated and we will end up negotiating their adoption with a solesource private provider for the length of a 15-year contract - a very serious problem for a system wishing to provide the best care at the best price.
Few governments could be more effective at bullying the private sector into an agreement than Klein's and ultimately his solution did not work. Why repeat those mistakes? Alberta needs cost-effective, integrated, quality laboratory services. The sane choice would be to build on the public non-profit approaches that have been proven to work.

2) The HQCA is asked to do a study to show that AHS didn't do a proper review of all possibilities. Really when has AHS ever done a proper review of any of the options? AHS does what government tells it to do which is what the review by the HQCA essentially says:

https://d10k7k7mywg42z.cloudfront.net/assets/5728f685d4c961739d073381/HQCA_Moving_ahead_on_transformation_of_laboratory_services_in_Alberta_January_18_2016_FINAL.pdf

In the past, the health authorities that existed before AHS did whatever government told them to do as AHS is now doing for the whole province. In the Klein error days the ideology was that privatization was best; in the NDP error days, the ideology is public sector is best.  In either scenario we lose in terms of public money wasted.

In the Klein error days we fork out money to private sector providers who didn't for the most part want to be private providers of lab services:
https://forprofitmedicallabs.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/edmontons-medical-laboratory-proposal-a-private-insanity/

Edmonton’s Medical Laboratory 

Proposal: A Private Insanity

I wrote the following post as an op-ed in the Edmonton Journal, October30, 2013. I hope it plays a part in halting the privatization of Edmonton’s medical laboratories.
The Alberta government is proposing to give the private sector a 15-year contract to run medical laboratory services in Edmonton. This policy meets the popular definition of insanity: a condition where you do the same thing again expecting a different result. The government proposal has been tried many times before, twice in Alberta, and it has not worked.
In 1996, premier Ralph Klein sought a private-sector provider to deliver all laboratory services in Calgary. The trouble was that none of the companies wanted the work. In the end Klein cajoled MDS and Kasper Labs into partnering with the regional health authority to form Calgary Laboratory Services. The public sector put up more than 50 per cent of the funding, provided the administrative back up and all of the work. Even so, by 2006 all of the private-sector partners had left and Calgary Laboratory Services continues as an integrated fully public non-profit medical laboratory provider.
In Edmonton, Klein forced three local private-sector labs to join forces with the giants, Gamma-Dynacare and MDS, to form Dynacare-Kasper Medical Laboratories (DKML). DKML was given the contract for most of Edmonton’s laboratory services. All hospital laboratories, except at the University of Alberta, were turned into rapid response laboratories and managed by DKML.
It did not work. By 2005, all of Edmonton’s in-patient laboratory services were back under hospital management. DKML transformed into DynaLIFE, a partnership wholly owned by LifeLabs, the fourth largest laboratory company in the world, and Gamma Dynacare, a subsidiary of LabCorp, the second largest laboratory company in the United States. DynaLIFE continues to provide community laboratory services and run the laboratory in the Fort McMurray Hospital.
In the mid-1990s, MDS (now LifeLabs) and the Toronto General Hospital (now part of the University Hospitals Network), also tried a similar public-private partnership to serve both community patients and in-patients in downtown Toronto. The for-profit company gained access to public investment and the hospitals provided all the space, the staff and the administrativebackup.The partnership was dissolved in 2009. The hospitals took over all laboratory work and the stand-alone community laboratory closed. Serious attempts to integrate hospital and community laboratories under a private-sector provider have also failed at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital and in eastern Ontario.
These failed projects illustrate that commercial companies are hesitant about taking on the risks inherent in hospital care. Hospitals, by their nature, have fluctuating volume requirements and more individualized testing while private providers prefer a more predictable routine. Large hospitals need large, comprehensive in-house laboratory services to reduce turnaround times. This fact limits what can be effectively moved off site.
To compensate for these higher risks, private companies demand excessive payments to assure a reasonable profit return – an arrangement that has proved unsustainable for regional health authorities and provincial governments. Laboratory medicine is also evolving rapidly making long-term contracts difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate.
On the one hand, too many tests are currently ordered and, hopefully, with better protocols and changing health-care delivery organizations the number of tests will drop, in some cases dramatically. To ensure their profit, private companies would need to build capacity for the current volume and would, in a contract, rightly expect payments to reflect that volume for the life of the contract. This means if we meet the desirable goal of cutting unnecessary tests, we would end up paying for tests that are not done.
On the other hand, as our medical understanding grows, high quality care we will mean new tests and procedures. These tests cannot be anticipated and we will end up negotiating their adoption with a sole-source private provider for the length of a 15-year contract – a very serious problem for a system wishing to provide the best care at the best price.
Few governments could be more effective at bullying the private sector into an agreement than Klein’s and ultimately his solution did not work. Why repeat those mistakes? Alberta needs cost-effective, integrated, quality laboratory services. The sane choice would be to build on the public non-profit approaches that have been proven to work.




DOCTORS HAVE SPOKEN OUT AGAINST PRIVATE LABS -RE: DOCTORS WANT ...

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Re: Doctors want province to sign agreement with private company to improve lab services – Edmonton Journal – Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015.
Re: Doctors want province to sign agreement with private company to improve lab services – Edmonton Journal – Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015.
In 2013 a group of pathologists from the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Alberta sent a detailed letter to Alberta Health Services outlining their concerns over the potential privatization of lab services in Edmonton.
The doctors discussed the probable reduction in quality patient care, research integrity and raised concerns over the use of public funds to support the privatization, to name a few.
That’s why I was surprised to see Dr. Shelley Duggan of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association support lab privatization.
Duggan claims AHS is not capable of providing the same lab services and technologies as Australian company Sonic Healthcare Limited. However, Sonic can only provide lab services if it takes all of AHS’s current lab employees, lab equipment and all of DynaLife’s current employees and equipment. Furthermore, Sonic would need to hire all current AHS lab management staff in order to operate.
Moreover, Duggan neglects to mention the failed privatization of hospital lab services by the Klein government in the 1990s. Those labs were brought back into the public sector in Edmonton and Calgary.
Here’s why: Private labs could not keep up with the demands of rapidly changing technologies and the complexity of clinical services in hospitals. The medical professionals who used the lab services strongly supported the move to a more responsive and efficient public system. It’s easier to recruit the best and brightest talent for labs if the laboratory is directly affiliated with a university. Public administration created a more efficient, stable, and accountable system of lab services and hospital-based training for all lab personnel, including doctors, is superior in the public model.
Sonic will take about 10 per cent, or $300,000,000 in net profits over the course of the 15-year, $3-billion contract it would receive from AHS. Those tax dollars should go toward services, not shareholders.
Despite repeated requests from the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees,AHS has never provided any economic evidence that supports private ownership of labs. Albertans deserve a full public hearing on the issue before any decision is made on lab privatization. We’re hopeful our new government agrees.
Guy Smith,
President, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees

*******************************************************
In the NDP error days we still pay for private providers by giving them $65 million dollars for aging infrastructure and costly staff while still retaining their executive staff for more bureaucratic costs during the transition:



Alberta Health Services planning integrated laboratory service for entire province

'One thing the agreement does is provide stability for the provision of services,' says Dynalife CEO

By Jennie Russell, Charles Rusnell, CBC News Posted: Sep 30, 2016 4:51 PM MT Last Updated: Sep 30, 2016 4:51 PM MT
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Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says the NDP government's decision to end private lab services is part of a plan to create a single integrated medical testing service for the province to improve stability and accountability.
In an interview, Hoffman said the idea for a single system managed by Alberta Health Services came from a Health Quality Council of Alberta report made public earlier this year.
"Particularly, when you are in a difficult health situation, making sure you have got quality lab results and no matter where you are in Alberta, that you have access to that information in a seamless way is one of the pieces that the Health Quality Council of Alberta report spoke to," Hoffman said.
As CBC News first reported earlier today, AHS will pay Dynalife $50 million when its recently extended contract ends March 31, 2022, and it will take over management of lab services for Edmonton and northern Alberta.
Under the new agreement, AHS will also pay Dynalife another $15 million during the life of the contract to ensure equipment is upgraded. It is expected Dynalife will continue to lease space for its main laboratory in downtown Edmonton from AIMCo, the investment arm of the Alberta government.
Sarah Hoffman
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman. (CBC)
AHS and Dynalife are expected to have a transition plan in place by Oct. 1, 2018 and a system for working out any disagreements.
As part of the agreement, AHS will hire all Dynalife staff, including unionized lab workers and non-unionized managers. Dynalife employs about 1,200 people and provides lab testing services for Edmonton and northern Alberta.
The agreement effectively ends plans by AHS from last year to completely outsource all its medical testing in the Edmonton region. Hoffman stopped that plan, saying she was not convinced there was sufficient evidence that showed the private provision of testing would provide better service for Albertans.

Decision provides stability

AHS vice-president Mauro Chies told CBC News the agreement was signed by both AHS and Dynalife earlier today.
Chies said Dynalife had been on a year-to-year contract, which created instability, and so the decision was made to buy out Dynalife at the end of a five-year contract to allow sufficient time to properly plan the transition.
The long-term plan is to create a fully integrated provincial system managed by AHS. But Chies said the model for operating the system has not yet been decided, and some role for private delivery of medical testing has not been ruled out.
"Come January, the recommendation will come forward (with) what that model should look like," he said. "So there is still the possibility that it could be completely run by AHS. It could be a joint partnership with a private entity, or it could be a fully private entity."
tp-dynalife2
AHS will pay Dynalife $50 million when its recently extended contract ends March 31, 2022.
Chies also said AHS will also assume responsibility for managing Covenant Health's lab services.
As part of the new system, the province is also planning to build a giant new lab in the Edmonton area that can handle a larger volume and wider variety of medical tests. Chies said the new lab will serve as the hub for all of Edmonton and northern Alberta.

Dynalife CEO to stay on

Dynalife CEO Jason Pincock said he will continue with the company over the remaining five years of the contract and assist with the transition. He confirmed that, as part of the agreement, all Dynalife employees would be transferred to AHS.
Pincock said it was clear AHS wanted to replace the three separate lab systems now operated by AHS, Dynalife and Covenant Health with one integrated service for the province that would hopefully work more effectively.
'One thing the agreement does is provide stability for the provision of services. And stability is a good thing for the system, and a good thing for patients'-  Jason Pincock
"One thing the agreement does is provide stability for the provision of services," he said. "And stability is a good thing for the system, and a good thing for patients."
The Health Sciences Association of Alberta represents Dynalife's unionized staff. President Mike Parker said he applauds the plan to bring lab services back to the public sector but he wants to ensure Dynalife's staff are treated well during the transition.
"Our first priority is to ensure that all jobs are protected as this transition happens," he said. "Following that, all members deserve the same pay and the same benefits, and that includes a pension plan."

Opposition parties slam decision

Both the Opposition Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives said the decision was based more on political ideology than evidence.
'More and more, this government is deciding that what they are going to do is ideology based, which includes centralizing and standing in the way of where private delivery may provide some efficiencies and better service.'- Drew Barnes
"More and more, this government is deciding that what they are going to do is ideology based, which includes centralizing and standing in the way of where private delivery may provide some efficiencies and better service," Wildrose health critic Drew Barnes said.
In a news release, Tory interim leader Ric McIver accused the NDP of protecting the interests of unions over that of taxpayers.
"This decision is political patronage of the highest order and the minister should immediately explain herself by releasing the business cases for all options that were under consideration," he said.
@jennierussell_ @charlesrusnell

******************


Really I don't know why Ric McIver is slamming the NDP for wasting our money when the PCs were doing it as well.
All political parties are working in the interests of only their own parties and not in the public interest.
This move will go over well with unions and their buddies in Public Interest Alberta, Friends of Medicare and such like.

3) Bloggers and the supporting groups like Friends of Medicare, Public Interest Alberta and sundry citizens all get together to extol the benefits of public laboratory services.


http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/alberta-health-services-to-take-over-dynalife-labs-in-2022

Alberta Health Services to take over Dynalife labs in 2022

Published on: September 30, 2016 | Last Updated: September 30, 2016 6:47 PM MDT
The DynaLife central lab facility in Edmonton is the biggest medical testing facility in northern Alberta.
The DynaLife central lab facility in Edmonton is the biggest medical testing facility in northern Alberta. LARRY WONG / EDMONTON JOURNAL
The NDP government is making good on its vow to bring medical lab services under greater public control, announcing a new deal that will see Alberta Health Services take over the testing now done by private company Dynalife.
The agreement will take effect in March 2022, when Dynalife’s recently extended service contractto serve Edmonton and northern Alberta expires.
Under the terms of the deal, AHS will pay Dynalife $50 million for its assets and become the new employer of the company’s 1,200 staff, including managers. The company will also receive another $15 million over the next five years to ensure lab equipment is upgraded, which will become AHS property when the takeover occurs.
“The $50 million allows us to assume the equipment, the assets, vehicles, infrastructure, desks and so on. And we get a trained workforce out of it,” said Mauro Chies, vice-president of clinical support services for AHS.
“If we had to start from scratch, we would have to post for positions, which is an onerous process. So this is a more efficient way of acquiring services … rather than building from the ground up.”
The change will effectively consolidate all of Alberta’s medical testing under the public umbrella, since Dynalife is currently the only private provider in the system.
The announcement represents a complete reversal from AHS’s plans as of last year, when the health authority was on track to outsource all of the medical testing in the Edmonton region to a single company.
Australia-based Sonic Healthcare won a controversial bidding process over Dynalife, putting it in line for a $3-billion, 15-year contract that would have included construction of a new super-lab facility.
Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman.
Health minister Sarah Hoffman. DAVID BLOOM / POSTMEDIA
But before any outsourcing deal could be signed, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman abruptly shut down the plan, saying she didn’t want to engage in “costly experiments in privatization.”
Hoffman said she instead wanted a more integrated, public system across the province for lab services. The government and AHS are now considering various options to make this work, including an expansion of the model used in Calgary, where the service is provided by a subsidiary of AHS.
Chies said use of private providers in the future is also possible, if it is determined they can provide a benefit.
Until the takeover, Dynalife is expected to continue to operate from the downtown central lab facility it rents from the government-owned Alberta Investment Management Corp.
Planning has begun for a new laboratory building in Edmonton that can accommodate a greater volume and variety of medical tests, though the government has yet to provide any estimates of costs or construction timelines.
Friday’s announcement was applauded by various labour groups, including the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, which represents most of the province’s lab workers.
“By eliminating duplicate administration and the need for private profit, public funds can now be directed 100 per cent to better resourcing and staffing our laboratory services,” advocacy group Friends of Medicare added in a statement.
However, opposition parties characterized the move as another example of ideological decision-making by the NDP that will increase centralized bureaucracy and costs to taxpayers.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said the government has a pattern of such choices, including Hoffman’s decision earlier this year halt AHS plans to outsource laundry and linen services. That decision could put the province on the hook for expensive upgrades to current aging laundry facilities.
Progressive Conservative health critic Richard Starke called on Hoffman to provide the business case for the $50-million expense, adding the move smacks of political patronage to labour groups that back the NDP.
Hoffman fired back that the former outsourcing plan, conceived under the last PC government, would have been much more costly and exposed the public to greater risk.
Dynalife currently handles more than half of the medical testing in the Edmonton region and northern Alberta. The company has been in operation for more than 20 years, building a generally strong track record over that time.

http://www.660news.com/2016/09/30/alberta-government-agrees-50-m-deal-take-medical-lab-services/

Alberta government agrees to $50 M deal to take over medical lab services

Posted Sep 30, 2016 5:24 pm MDT
(borealis.ca)
Opinion appears to be split on the Alberta government’s decision to buy out Dynalife medical laboratory services by the year 2022 for $50-million.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says it’s good news for patients, ensuring they’ll be able to provide stable health care delivery to clients.
Friends of Medicare say the government will come down on the right side of history for making the purchase.
“This is good news for the public. The privatization of lab services has been an issue for us for many years, and was one of the first issues we brought up with our new Government,” said Sandra Azocar. “By eliminating duplicate administration and the need for private profit, public funds can now be directed 100 per cent to better resourcing and staffing our laboratory services. This is a win for patients and those looking for better use of public funds in health care.”
This is the third time in Alberta since 2005 that private lab services have been brought back under the public umbrella.
“We don’t know yet how the laboratory work will be organized after the purchase. We are hoping to see the services brought directly under Alberta Health Services without adding a layer of additional administration like we see under Calgary Lab Services, so that the work can be fully integrated into our health care system,” she said.,
Wildrose MLAs say the move will be a mistake and that the NDP government is putting its ideology first before good government.
Party officials say the move to buy out Dynalife’s sole-sourced contract follows a similar decision the Health Minister made to publicly control laundry services.
Opposition Leader Brian Jean is calling for Hoffman to release the full business case behind the decision.
“It appears the NDP just can’t see to help themselves when it comes to choosing centralization over common sense,” he said. “Since forming government, the NDP have mishandled the provision of lab services for Edmonton and northern Alberta and brought instability across the region.”
Officials within the party add it’s their position private delivery of public services is bad and only leads to higher cots and narrow thinking.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Friday+letters+City+needs+profit/11322428/story.html

Friday’s letters: City needs not-for-profit lab

EDMONTON JOURNAL  08.28.2015
Friday’s letters: City needs not-for-profit lab
A DynaLIFE lab in Edmonton
CHRIS SCHWARZ
First, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean speaks out against the decision to cancel the lab contract with Sonic Healthcare Ltd. of Australia, as he says it is based on the ideology of the new government. I laughed: yes, a different ideology indeed — not for profit, publicly funded and patient-focused.
Next I read the story quoting Dynalife CEO Jason Pincock, who explains why some tests, necessary for patient care decisions, are sent out of province. “This is done primarily because they are low volume and not because we could not develop the capability here in Alberta.” My conclusion? “Low volume” is another way of saying “not profitable.”
In the same article, reference is made to Edmonton physician Dilini Vethanayagam, who has tried since 2004 to have Alberta Health Services create a local lab that could read tests immediately to support patient treatment for asthma. To avoid delays in treatment, she now sends patients to Calgary, which funds a special lab. I think maybe the volumes in Calgary are higher for this particular test, or, maybe it is a more patient-focused environment. What I learned is Calgary lab services are primarily publicly funded and would continue to be so even with the Sonic plan!
Then I read the letter from Dr. Shelley Duggan, president of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association. She, too, speaks against the decision to cancel the lab contract, asking: “Was it made in the interests of patient care or political ideology?”
Who is speaking on behalf of the patients the Edmonton Zone physicians serve? Again speaking of politics, was it not during the Ralph Klein era that lab services were privatized in the first place?
Our new Health Minister Sarah Hoffman and AHS should be commended for cancelling the contract with the Sonic. Now it might be wise to take a good look at DynaLife. Who are the owners? What have their profits been over the last several years? Is it really cost-effective when treatment is delayed while patients, if they can afford to, drive to Calgary for an inexpensive test that will result in improved health? Beyond that, is there conflict of interest among the individuals involved in the entire decision making process?
Let’s build a publicly funded, not-for-profit super lab in Edmonton.
Sara Wright, Edmonton

4) But where is the cost benefit analysis? All we know so far is that the flip flop has cost us major bucks; so far I see we have paid out more than 5 million dollars for this disaster. And for what? Good question. Review the HQCA publication and see that it's all about one laboratory service in the public sector which is what we started with in the first place. This junk makes me feel that government is such a waste of time, energy and money.


http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-health-quality-council-calls-for-single-public-oversight-for-lab-services-1.3564860
The transition of laboratory services back to the public sector was signalled more than a year ago when Health Minister Sarah Hoffman abruptly cancelled negotiations with an Australian company, Sonic Healthcare.
Sonic had been chosen over Dynalife for a $3-billion, 15-year contract by the previous Progressive Conservative government.
The government spent about $4.5 million on the request for proposal process. Nearly $3.75 million of that was spent under the Tory government. Hoffman's cancellation of the contract incurred a penalty of more than $800,000.


******************************

It is all so confusing. We had the PCs who privatized laboratory services, destabilizing the sector and resulting in some success in Edmonton but no success in Calgary. Now we have the NDP going back to the past to reverse the PC programs and we are only sure of one fact. This is all costing us big bucks.  I am also pretty sure that the addition of all these laboratory workers is going to cost us more in terms of salaries, benefits and pension plans. The overall one laboratory idea may be what the public sector wants but will it be better than what we have had in the past? And what will be the price tag for all of us? We have a stagnant economy for the next decade at least and we have augmentation of the public sector complement. This seems like bad news for taxpayers.
All taxpayers.


Here is my take on this decision:


Julie Ali ·
We have spent over 5 million dollars to first decide on Sonic Healthcare and then to delete Sonic Healthcare as a private laboratory services provider.

http://www.cbc.ca/.../alberta-health-services-to-buy-out...

Sonic had been chosen over Dynalife for a $3-billion, 15-year contract by the previous Progressive Conservative government.
The government spent about $4.5 million on the request for proposal process. Nearly $3.75 million of that was spent under the Tory government. Hoffman's cancellation of the contract incurred a penalty of more than $800,000.
*********************

I do not see any cost benefit analysis for going back to the past.

Where is the evidence that doing laboratory work in the public sector is best?

We have a HQCA report, that seems to say we need a province wide one laboratory service but no dollar amounts are given to say that the public model is best for this province wide one laboratory system.

While I support public health care, I do believe some of the work can be done in the private sector. For example, the private sector is able to do non-essential work such as laundry services.

In the case of laboratory services, Dynalife was doing a reasonable job. and the decision to go back to the public model seems to be based on ideology and increasing costs for the private laboratory provider. If it is not profitable, private laboratory providers bail out as was the case in Calgary where AHS had to take over private lab services.

In this case, we have no idea of what laboratory costs are in the private sector or if such costs are reasonable for this sector. I mean there may be some data somewhere but where? The HQCA report provides no costing information. Instead the HQCA report looks at the problems with the AHS decision to choose Sonic Healthcare for outsourcing of most of the lab work in the province.

The HQCA report indicates that there were questions about "financial and feasibility/risk metrics of alternate options" which is basically saying they don't know how much province wide lab. services will cost with private sector providers. But isn't this the same problem in the public sector?

The HQCA report indicates:
https://d10k7k7mywg42z.cloudfront.net/.../HQCA_Moving...

Page 3
The documentation reviewed did not identify that a comprehensive review of these alternate options was undertaken in terms of cost, benefit and risk or the opportunities that may exist in leveraging current laboratory services.

*****
Hmm. What does this mean? The province only has Dynalife and the Calgary Laboratory Services to leverage. Doesn't the province know how much these services cost and if they would be able to do the work required province wide? Also if the folks at AHS didn't do the cost benefit analysis for any of these private options this means in my mind a failure of performance. Who the heck chooses a provider without doing this sort of cost benefit analysis?

If this cost benefit analysis wasn't done by AHS for the private sector providers then the original decision to hire Sonic Healthcare was indeed a risky proposition. But if AHS also hasn't done a cost benefit analysis for public sector delivery of laboratory services doesn't this mean that there are risks with this delivery model as well?

There is also chatter about the problems that a single laboratory services provider would cause such as labour problems and juggling multiple interests, stakeholders and regulatory bodies. Hmm. won't this still be the case with the public delivery of lab services?

I believe the public needs to see the cost benefit analysis justifying the public delivery of laboratory services and if this hasn't been done, it surely should be done now before we waste more money in decisions that do not pan out.

Brian Jean is correct in asking for the "full business case" here:

http://www.660news.com/.../alberta-government-agrees-50.../

Opposition Leader Brian Jean is calling for Hoffman to release the full business case behind the decision.

“It appears the NDP just can’t see to help themselves when it comes to choosing centralization over common sense,” he said. “Since forming government, the NDP have mishandled the provision of lab services for Edmonton and northern Alberta and brought instability across the region.”
LikeReplyJust now

***********************************************************
But I guess it doesn't really matter. The NDP folks are a done deal as these comments indicate:

http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/alberta-health-services-to-take-over-dynalife-labs-in-2022



Rhys Jones
... and so we have come a complete circle. This was the system we had 30 years ago. Government interference is the single biggest problem health care services have.
UnlikeReply1Sep 30, 2016 5:12pm
Louise Consterdine
Interference? As long as health care services are paid from tax dollars I sure hope the government goes on "interfering".
LikeReplyOct 1, 2016 5:22am
Rhys Jones
Louise Consterdine I'm not suggesting no oversight; but every time a government changes, be it only the leader, they decide new policies on Alberta health care which often end up costing we taxpayers more money simply because they want to be seen as 'doing something' when all they have really done is make a few moves in a political shell game.
UnlikeReply2Oct 1, 2016 7:59am


Robert A Currie ·
2022.............lol who cares right now!
LikeReply2Sep 30, 2016 4:20pm
Amber Phair-Harris
They'll be gone in 2019...
UnlikeReply3Sep 30, 2016 6:33pm

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