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Media Statement: Alberta Health Services welcomes AHS Review; moves toward implementation

February 3, 2020

EDMONTON - Alberta Health Services (AHS) welcomes the release of the AHS Review.

“We were pleased to work with Ernst and Young (EY) throughout the review process and we are ready to move forward as we continue to innovate and build a financially sustainable health system that is available for all Albertans when they need care,” said Dr. Verna Yiu, AHS President and CEO.

The report’s recommendations identify opportunities in four key areas of improvement: AHS workforce and management, clinical and clinical support services, non-clinical (corporate) services, and overall health system governance.

The review process included broad engagement with Albertans as well as health system stakeholders and AHS staff and physicians. More than 30,000 physicians and AHS employees participated in the online survey for the review, and 90 per cent of respondents agreed that protecting and strengthening the sustainability of Alberta’s health system should be a key AHS priority.

AHS has an implementation team looking at all the recommendations and opportunities in the report. The team is leading work to review the recommendations and to further explore those areas identified as needing further information.

All recommendations in the report are being fully considered, with the exception of two. AHS will not propose the closure of hospitals or the merger of trauma centres in Edmonton. As well, AHS, together with the Government of Alberta, will ensure low-income patients are protected.

Some of the remaining recommendations will be acted on immediately, while others will require additional exploration and initial investment. Determining the cost of implementing an initiative will be one of the factors considered as AHS prioritizes recommendations.

The review outlines potential gross savings, over multiple years, based on fully adopting every suggested recommendation. These should not be viewed as actual potential savings as they do not include implementation costs and other factors.

As AHS moves ahead on implementation by turning recommendations and opportunities into specific initiatives, the potential savings will be better defined.

Research shows that high performing healthcare organizations that are sustainable and efficient also deliver excellent patient care, and that is our focus.

There is much in the report that reflects work already taking place within AHS, such as our Operational Best Practices initiatives and ensuring that we offer services that are clinically appropriate and meet the areas of greatest patient need.

In fact, many of these recommendations and opportunities have already been identified by AHS, and are currently underway or in various stages of implementation.

Alberta’s healthcare evolution over the past 10 years has had a significant impact on the cost of care and AHS’ overall bottom line. Over the past decade, AHS has saved nearly $1 billion through efficiencies.

This review provides AHS with series of opportunities to explore further sustainability of the healthcare system, something that is necessary given Alberta’s growing and aging population, and the increasing demands on healthcare services.

“AHS takes its responsibilities as fiscal stewards of taxpayer dollars seriously. We have already made a lot of progress and this report provides further opportunity to continue to evolve,” said David Weyant, AHS Board Chair.

“I would like to thank all of our physicians, leaders and employees for the work they do, and the care they provide, every day. The Board has full confidence in the AHS team, and we will do this work in partnership with physicians, staff, communities and Albertans.”

For media inquiries, contact:

Kerry Williamson
AHS Communications
Cell: 780-905-5890