AHS Review

Feb. 2020… I am sure you have seen the announcement of the AHS Review results.  I have waded through some of the report but not all at this stage so will just share some initial findings at this time and send another update once I have read both documents — FYI, the summary report is 101 pages long and then there is the final report which is 220 pages.  As the devil can be in the details, I think it is a good idea to read both!  You can find links to both of them here:  https://open.alberta.ca/publications/alberta-health-services-performance-review-summary-report

The summary report recommends how to modernize AHS, leverage its single system to achieve more consistency of care across the province, improve quality but achieve better results.  Unfortunately, it does not appear as a move towards a relational care model.  If anything, it is a move to even more strict clinical practice guidelines with the CMA/AMA Choosing Wisely Campaign being called out in the announcement news conference as a tool that can have tremendous impact on service funding changes.

Some key highlights are:

  • The report is based around 4 themes: people, clinical services, non-clinical services and governance.  Then they are broken down into improvement themes, workstreams, recommendations and savings opportunities.
  • In total, nearly $1.9 billion in savings are called out however Min. Shandro was very clear he does not expect to achieve this.
  • AHS has 100 days to provide Min. Shandro with an implementation plan on May 13.  It will outline short, medium- and long-term actions and a projected total value of savings.
  • The report calls for a reconfiguration of hospitals and trauma centres but Min. Shandro was emphatic in saying none will be closed.  There are 83 community hospital sites and 36 of them do not meet viability thresholds.  AHS has been tasked to develop a plan to ensure all sites are viable.  An example given to illustrate how this could be done is work in Red Deer.  They were overloaded with surgical demand so used nearby community hospitals to do some of the surgeries instead.
  • Min. Shandro also stated he does not want to see any urban trauma centres closed or consolidated.
  • There is quite a bit on content outlining the high salaries of healthcare providers in Alberta but Shandro would not comment on plans other than to say this would be brought to the negotiation table.  The report indicates nurses are paid 7% more than the Canadian average and calls out the “uncontrolled growth” in the physician services budget.

If you only have time to look at one section, I would suggest you review the Opportunity Prioritization charts that begin on page 178 of the final report.  It will give you a quick snapshot of the overall recommendations.

If you have already conducted an assessment of the report(s) I encourage you to send me your findings or let me know what recommendations are of the biggest concern for you.