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Alberta awards medical test contract to DynaLife, to take over majority of community lab work


Medical test provider DynaLife will expand its services across the province after winning a contract to take over from public provider Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL), Alberta Health Services said.

DynaLife, which has provided community lab services in Edmonton and other communities in the North health zone for more than 25 years, will now operate patient service centres and mobile collection facilities in urban areas and large rural communities.

It will perform approximately 65 per cent of provincial lab work, or about 50 million tests per year, and non-urgent hospital work.

Hospitals and community health sites that handle less than 25,000 community blood tests per year will continue to be provided by APL, a subsidiary of AHS.

“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, in a statement.

“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.”

According to AHS, no jobs will be lost in the transition as DynaLife takes over lab services. DynaLife will fold all unionized, non-unionized, and medical-scientific staff under existing collective agreements and provide "the same, or similar, terms," AHS says.

“Alberta Precision Laboratories will play a key role in ensuring all quality and service level requirements in the contract are being met by DynaLife,” said Mauro Chies, Alberta Health Services Clinical Support Services vice-president.

“At the same time, APL will continue providing lab service at our acute care hospitals, along with the specialized lab testing, research and innovation that is critical to Alberta’s provincial lab system, such as the COVID-19 testing program that has been a pillar of our pandemic response.”

The new contract between APL and DynaLife starts July 1. According to AHS, "detailed planning" and "final negotiations" will now begin to ensure the transition of staff and facilities is "orderly."

"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 Jason Pincock, DynaLife President and CEO, in a statement.

“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.”

The new contract stipulates DynaLife invest in "significant upgrades" and "expansion" of patient service centres in Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Fort McMurray, and Grande Prairie.

DynaLife will also be expected to invest in improvements to leased hub lab facilities in Calgary and Edmonton.

The move to leverage private laboratory contracts for testing services was recommended by the AHS Review conducted by Ernst & Young LLP.

According to that review, when comparing similar tests offered in Alberta, there was a cost differential of $1.29 per test between APL and private providers like DynaLife.

Excluding public health and genetic testing, from the period reviewed, APL conducted a total of 60 million tests at a cost of $576 million while contractors in Alberta completed 19 million tests for $158 million. 

AHS says more details about the lab takeover will be provided to staff and stakeholders in the "coming weeks and months."

DynaLife will provide services and operate facilities in the following cities: Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Brooks, Lloydminster, Camrose, Airdrie, Cochrane, Okotoks, Leduc, Strathmore, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, and St. Albert. Top Stories

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