EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services has selected Sonic Healthcare, an Australian company, as its preferred provider of laboratory services in the Edmonton area, as well as parts of central and northern Alberta, and will shortly begin negotiations. The 15-year contract is said to be worth $3 billion.
Sonic was selected by AHS to provide services that will replace hospital labs operated by AHS and Covenant Health, and private labs operated by DynaLife.
According to AHS, a vigorous review process was undertaken leading to the selection of Sonic as the preferred provider with whom to begin negotiations. The evaluation process included 108 people, including front-line staff, working in 13 teams.
Lab staff are expected to be transitioned to the new provider. AHS will begin to negotiate next steps with Sonic as soon as possible.
A final negotiated contract with the new provider will span 15 years, and the annual value of the contract is expected to be similar to current annual costs of approximately $200 million for lab services.
Approximately 27 million lab tests are conducted annually in Edmonton.
Alberta Health Services CEO Vickie Kaminski (pictured) said, “The new model is designed specifically for Albertans, and will set the standard for lab services in Canada. We are excited about the future of lab services in our communities.”
Alberta Health Services says the choice to award an Australian company the contract to run lab services in central and northern Alberta was based on cost, quality and the desire to send fewer tests for processing outside the province.
“We do send a number of tests outside of Alberta and we’d like to get those tests being done back in Alberta,” Kaminiski said.
The choice of Sonic Healthcare came as a surprise to many, as DynaLife had provided laboratory services in the Edmonton area for a decade and was familiar with the needs of the province.
DynaLife Chief Executive Officer Jason Pincock said in a news release he was disappointed with the government’s decision. “We have had a long-standing, positive relationship with the people we serve and we are very proud of our track record in delivering high quality lab services to Albertans,” Pincock said.
The contract with DynaLife is set to expire in 2016. Kaminiski said proponents who weren’t successful have a period of time to appeal the AHS decision.