Alberta mandates council to focus on quality healthcare
EDMONTON – Quality
healthcare and improved patient safety are the focus of an expanded
mandate for the Health Services Utilization and Outcomes Commission. The
commission will be renamed the Health Quality Council of Alberta to
reflect its new role.
The council will report directly to Albertans about patient safety and
satisfaction, and the quality and performance of Alberta's healthcare
system. It will continue to provide input to the minister about
system-wide quality improvements.
A 2003 survey conducted by the Health Care Utilization and Outcomes
Commission found that three out of 10 Albertans are concerned about
patient safety. Fourteen percent reported they or a family member have
experienced a medical mistake.
"About 2.5 million Albertans seek at least one health service a year,"
said Alberta Health and Wellness Minister Gary Mar. "Patients in the
province need to have confidence in the quality of care they receive."
The council will liaise with the newly formed National Health Council
and work closely with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. It will
also work with other provincial bodies that address quality and patient
safety such as the Health Facilities Review Committee, Protection of
Persons in Care and other key stakeholders like regional health
authorities and the Alberta Cancer Board.
"Alberta takes its responsibility for healthcare seriously," said
Minister Mar. "We recognize the value of working with our national
colleagues but unlike the established national bodies our council will
be accountable to Albertans who use and pay for our health system."
Dr. Lorne Tyrrell, dean of medicine and dentistry at the University of
Alberta, will chair the new council. He joins the current members of the
Health Services Utilization and Outcomes Commission who come from the
health professions, academia, the community and government. The ethics
commissioner reviewed the membership to ensure no conflict of interest
"Quality brings together all aspects of healthcare from research to
education to service delivery," said Dr. Tyrrell. "That is an ambitious
scope, but Albertans and their health system have the skills, ability
and attitude to achieve it. The council will be pleased to be a partner
in helping to improve the quality of care Albertans receive."
Bonnie Laing, former MLA for Calgary-Bow has been named vice-chair.
Laing is the former chair of the Health Utilization and Outcomes
Commission. Under her leadership, the commission released its Health
Report to Albertans in July 2003 and the Survey of Albertans in
September 2003. The reports contained integral information about
selected population health indicators, effectiveness of the healthcare
system, overall health of Albertans and their satisfaction with the
"All council members bring extensive expertise with them to the table,"
said Mar. "We are fortunate to have Dr. Tyrrell and Bonnie Laing to head
this talented group. Their knowledge and experience will provide the
leadership needed to help the council succeed in its new mandate."
"I am pleased to see the commission taking on an expanded mandate that
will play a key role in ensuring quality of care and improving patient
safety within Alberta's health care system," said Laing. "I look forward
to serving as vice-chair and helping the council to achieve its goals."
The $3 million annual budget previously allocated to the Health Services
Utilization and Outcomes Commission will be transferred to the new
Health Quality Council of Alberta.
Membership and MandateMandate
The Health Quality Council of Alberta will report directly to Albertans
on the quality and performance of health services. The council will
identify best practices and review and monitor health care quality,
including access, cost effectiveness, efficiency, and patient safety.
Dr. Lorne Tyrrell - Chair
Dr. Tyrrell is the dean of medicine and dentistry at the University of
Alberta who is internationally recognized for his discovery of a
treatment to cure hepatitis B. Prior to becoming dean, he was the chair
of the department of medical microbiology and infectious diseases. In
1998, he was awarded both a Prix Galien Canada for Research and the U of
A's J. Gordin Kaplin Award for Excellence in Research. He is also the
1999 recipient of the U of A's University Cup for teaching and research
Bonnie Laing - Vice-Chair
Mrs. Laing, former M.L.A. for Calgary-Bow, served three terms in the
Alberta legislature after a 26 year career in education. She was chair
of the former Health Services Utilization and Outcomes Commission, is a
past chair of the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, and served
as co-chair on the government's Special Task Force on Province-Wide
Mrs. Laing also chaired the province's 1997 Health System Funding Review
Former members of the Health Services Utilization and Outcomes
John Cowell, CEO (ex-officio, non-voting)
Dr. Chris Eagle - Clinical Health
Dr. Peter Norton - Clinical Health
Dr. Michael Lee - Health Academic
Doug Griffiths, M.L.A. Wainwright - Government
Doug Tupper - Government (retired)
Elaine Mills - Public
Linda Steinman - Public
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