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Bids in for giant medical lab in Edmonton

Rick TrimpEDMONTON – Four companies have submitted bids to Alberta Health Services to become the single provider of laboratory services in the Edmonton zone, a contract that is reputedly worth $3 billion. The four companies are: DynaLIFEDX; Mayo Medical Laboratories; Quest Diagnostics; and Sonic Healthcare.

The RFP was open for bids from Dec. 11, 2013, to April 1, 2014. AHS is now conducting an evaluation by 13 teams, comprised of 108 people, to ensure key criteria are met.

“This is the next step in ensuring we have the best quality laboratory services solution for Albertans that focuses on patient needs and safety, now and in the future,” says Rick Trimp (pictured), AHS Interim President and CEO for Population Health and Province-Wide Services.

Over the next month, companies will visit Edmonton to give presentations and answer questions from the evaluation team. In addition, AHS plans to send a team to do site visits to assess operations and to ensure companies can provide the needed capabilities at the highest standards of quality.

The successful company will build a state-of-the-art laboratory in Edmonton, and provide integrated services that include all hospital-based urgent lab services, community testing and lab specimen processing in the Edmonton Zone, as well as in parts of central and northern Alberta.

The integrated model will replace the current model for laboratory services which are jointly provided by AHS, Covenant Health and current contracted provider DynaLIFEDX. No jobs are at risk as a result of this integration.

“Residents in the Edmonton Zone currently wait up to eight weeks for highly specialized tests,” says Trimp. “As a result of these changes, residents will have rapid access to highly specialized tests, shorter waits for test results and a system capable of accommodating growing demand for tests, including increasingly sophisticated tests.”

Each evaluation team has at least one content expert, who could be a front-line clinician or a member of lab medical/scientific staff or lab technical staff. Unionized staff will also be represented in the evaluation process.

There is also representation from Alberta Health, the Alberta Medical Association, the Alberta Society of Laboratory Physicians and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.

A panel of experts has been enlisted to ensure evaluation teams are addressing all key criteria, and reviewing and providing opinion on recommendations from the evaluation teams. This panel is comprised of 10 members from across Alberta, Canada and the U.S. representing laboratory physicians, clinicians, academics and research institutions, AHS Health Advisory Councils, industry experts and the Government of Alberta.

The evaluation process is expected to take about three months, with a provider expected to be selected this summer. It is expected the new laboratory will be built and in operation by 2017.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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