No job losses are anticipated through the transition process, as DynaLIFE Medical Labs begins delivering community laboratory services across the province July 1, the provincial government says.
Alberta Health Services and Alberta Precision Laboratories announced they had reached an agreement on terms of a contract Thursday.
These changes to laboratory services were first announced in 2020 as part of a province-wide effort by the UCP government to save $600 million a year.
“Contracting routine community lab work to DynaLIFE will enhance service for Albertans and generate cost savings that can be used to support other priorities and services across the healthcare system,” said Minister of Health Jason Copping.
“Partnering with DynaLIFE is an innovative solution that will build upon the success of Alberta’s provincially integrated lab system, which has proven to be one of the best of its kind in North America and is critical to providing high quality patient diagnosis and treatment across the healthcare spectrum.”
DynaLIFE has agreed to assume all unionized, non-unionized and medical-scientific staff under existing collective agreements (where applicable) and provide the same, or similar, terms and conditions of employment as existing prior to the transfer, the Alberta government said.
Mike Parker, Health Sciences Association of Alberta president, said the privatizing labs announcement leaves a lot of questions.
“Assurances of no job losses and that lab professionals will continue to be represented by HSAA is good news,” said Parker.
“For two years now lab workers have been giving their all to protect Albertans during the pandemic while being kept in the dark as the UCP blindly plows ahead with its privatization plans.”
But the HSAA has three questions: What happens to pensions? What is including in this transfer? And how much public money is going to guaranteed profit for DynaLIFE?
The province must release contract details so Albertans can see how much of their money is going to profits instead of patient care, said Parker.
“HSAA believes all public money spent on health care should go to patient care, not profits.”
Approximately 65 per cent of provincial lab work, or 50 million tests per year, is generated from the community and will be delivered by DynaLIFE under contract to AHS.
The contract will include operating patient service centres and mobile collection facilities in urban centres and large rural communities, including Red Deer.
The agreement will see DynaLIFE invest in significant upgrades and expansion of patient service centres in communities, including Red Deer.
DynaLIFE has provided community lab service in Edmonton and several communities in AHS’s North zone for more than 25 years.
“We are proud and very excited to build on our experience serving Albertans and bring our patient-centred focus to new communities across the province,” said DynaLIFE’s president and CEO Jason Pincock.
“We look forward to working with AHS and APL on our plans that include much-needed upgrades and expansion of patient service centres and laboratory testing facilities in many of Alberta’s largest and fastest-growing communities.”
DynaLIFE will also be responsible for laboratory testing of all community and non-urgent hospital lab work across the province.
Hospital and community health sites that currently handle less than 25,000 community blood test collections per year will continue to be provided by APL.
Final negotiations for a contract and detailed planning will now begin to ensure an orderly transition of staff and facilities from APL to DynaLIFE starting on July 1.