Edmonton’s $3 Billion Super Lab: Where’s the business case?

Is there anyone left in the PC government with a lick of common sense?

Last week the NDP revealed that the government intends to outsource lab services to a private corporation and has initiated a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to award a $3 billion, 15 years contract to a single provider. 

Health Minister Horne

Leaving aside the utter lack of consultation—sorry Minister Horne, making a phone call to AHS in the morning and announcing to the Legislature that afternoon that 90 pathologists who are employed by AHS are fine with the project is not consultation—the business rationale for this project is non-existent.

A $3 billion Super Lab is a massive project on the scale of TCPL’s Keystone XL pipeline and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.  How would a board of directors in the private sector evaluate such a proposal?  They’d demand a business case that would provide answers to the following questions:

Is there a shortage of lab service facilities?  Minister Horne says Alberta’s population growth is driving a 6% increase in the demand for lab tests.  This can’t be correct.  A 6% population growth equates to an addition 240,000 people.  Last year the population grew by 136,000.  The average age of the newbies was 36 (which usually means less demand on health services, not more).  So population growth alone is not causing the 6% increase in demand.

What’s driving the increased demand?  Can it be met by other means?  Who knows.  Minister Horne will provide nothing but crumbs of information about this project and then only if pressed.

Has the government considered cheaper incremental additions to existing labs?  Apparently not.  It’s determined to saddle the Alberta taxpayer with a financial burden that equates to one-half of the $ 6 billion Bitumen Bubble deficit.

If the Super Lab is required, should it be publicly or privately built, owned and operated?  Private corporations survive only if they grow.  This means the Super Lab will strive to increase demand (and drain the public purse) from the day it opens its doors.  Is this the right financial solution?

If the Super Lab is best realized by the private sector, should the contract go to a single provider and must the term of the contract run for 15 years?   Smart corporations resist binding themselves to a sole-supplier long-term contract for fear that they’ll be trapped if the contractor provides sub-par service, goes bankrupt, etc.  They might sign such a contract if it is extremely lucrative and contains off-ramps to let them terminate if things go pear shaped.  Does Minister Horne’s RFP and precedent agreement include these terms?  Once again Minister Horne isn’t saying.

If a sole-provider long-term contract is necessary, how on earth did LabCorp make it to the short list?   The government pre-qualified three suppliers.  One is LabCorp.  LabCorp, a US company, billed US Medicare $187 million for unnecessary blood tests and was caught making $49.5 million in false claims to California state medicare. A smart corporation would never allow a bidder with this track record on to the bidders list.

Desi & Lucy

The Super Lab proposal illustrates the government’s gross incompetence at (1) figuring out whether a problem exists, (2) building a business case to come up with the right solution if indeed there is a problem, (3) consulting with all of the stakeholders prior to committing to billions of dollars of debt and (4) running a competent RFP process.

In the immortal words of Desi Arnaz:  “Freddie you got a lot of ‘splaining to do!” 

*Hansard, Oct 30, 2013

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46 Responses to Edmonton’s $3 Billion Super Lab: Where’s the business case?

  1. Mare says:

    So thankful for this information. I’ve been away and had not learned about this 15 year contract (REALLY??) with LabCorp … Horrific news, so shameful.

    • Mare, one has to wonder, why the unseemly haste, why no consultation, and who, pray tell, will be the beneficiary of all the sub-contracts that will fall out of this decision…I’m thinking of the engineering, procurement and construction companies who’ll get to build it on behalf of the successful bidder. This feels like another one of those situations when who you know is more important than what you know.

  2. Well said, Susan. Keep writing about the ongoing health care train wreck in Alberta.

  3. Anne says:

    Thank you SO much for this post. This article raises a lot of important questions. There is an increasing demand for laboratory services and that is not just because out population is growing. But I KNOW that we can do better than selling out to a private company. And it doesn’t sound like one of the possible candidates for providing our laboratory services has a very good track record. I’ll say it again- FOR PROFIT COMPANIES HAVE A BOTTOM LINE OF MAKING MONEY. That is it. That’s their number one job. They might attempt to be innovative or provide quality but that is only so that they can make more money. Our current system has the only job of providing quality laboratory medicine services. There is collaboration with clinical programs, there is teaching, there is research, there is no pressure to ever compromise because we are not making money. No thank you Fred Horne. And I would love to know how much trouble Duncan Campbell was in after his tweet on Friday. Heaven forbid that we slow down and look at other options. By their own admission, Laboratory Medicine executives have told lab staff that we have been underfunded for years and that is how we are in this situation. Who has failed to advocate for laboratory medicine? Lab services are not ‘sexy’. It is not exciting to know how a blood test has been performed (at least not to normal people :o) but there are few decisions made in the diagnosis and treatment of disease that do not involve some kind of laboratory investigation. This work is very important. I am very concerned about where I will be moved to when our lab is sold. It is going to be very unlikely that I will continue to have access to the clinical teams that I do now. How is this new provider going to shuttle me back and forth to the hospital to attend rounds and meetings and to teach? Are the residents still going to be willing to haul their busy and exhausted selves to some remote location? How much of a delay will there be as we transport specimens back and forth? It is all so very frustrating.

    • Anne, thank you for outlining a number of negative consequences that I had not considered. The impact this decision on collaboration, teaching, research is something that all Albertans would have understood better if the government engaged in a real consultation effort with all stakeholders instead of defaulting to privatization. There’s not much point in having a public servants (this includes MLAs) if all they do is siphon our tax dollars to the private sector.
      PS I had exactly the same thought about Duncan Campbell. I’m sure when the Minister called to “ask” whether the pathologists working at AHS supported this plan, poor Duncan quickly figured out that the “correct” answer was “yes”.

  4. Carlos Beca says:

    A ‘Train Wreck’ is definitely the correct description. This is going to be another one like the Home Care contract. It will be signed and given to the bidder that offers the best side kicks and then two or three months into another bad decision the minister will go on TV apologizing but do not worry because we will fix it. Yesterday it was announced that they are going to put 50 million back in Education. Oops sorry 147 million cut was unecessary and probably not a good idea but we will fix it with 50 million back. I am not sure what to say about all of this other than pure fundamental incompetence. The same is happening on the pipeline front with Christy Clark and by the end of Alison Redford’s reign, we will be left with a true ‘Train Wreck’ that may very well be impossible to fix no matter how many millions.
    To me only an egocentric mental-wreck can deal with a 3 billion dollar contract with enormous future consequences, without any consultation. Considering the Senate and the Torontogate fiascos and the total lack of responsibility and decency from the Mayor all the way to the Prime Minister, it is not at all surprising anymore, but it is certainly very disturbing. As Canadians we cannot always have the top experts in government but we certainly should expect decent law abiding citizens. It is up to all of us to make sure we raise these standards before we fall into a banana republic status.

    • Carlos, what I can’t get over is how little media coverage we’ve seen with respect to the $3 billion Super Lab. I mean, THREE BILLION DOLLARS. Wow!

      Kudos to the NDP for doing a terrific job in uncovering LabCorp’s fraudulent conduct. When Brian Mason confronted Ms Redford about this she said: “I think that if those companies, that I know nothing about, did something wrong, they should pay back the money.” Then he asked her whether her government was prepared to award a $3 billion contract to a company with this track record and she said “…the fact that this hon. member is suggesting that this government would do that is ridiculous.” which is a ridiculous statement on her part because that’s exactly what the government was prepared to do or it wouldn’t have pre-qualified LabCorp in the first place. Either that or they totally flubbed the due diligence part of the RFP process. LabCorp is publicly traded. SEC rules require it to disclose these things. Unbelievable!

      • carlosbeca says:

        Well Susan the pre qualification of this company could mean way more than just the fact that the RFP process failed somehow. Gone are the days I was naive enough to believe l those excuses. A 3 billion contract comes for sure with gifts and that may just be the reason for the pre qualification. I do not ignore that possibility anymore. It is obvious that a company with this track record is getting in the RFP process at a cost.
        The media is not interested in that kind of issue, after all the owners of the Edmonton Journal and Sun may very well have shares in LabCorp. Yes the wonderful incestuous world of finances. This is not unbelievable, it is disgraceful and the biggest problem is that Alison Redford and the rest of the mafia could not careless about what you or me or any one else thinks. They will go ahead and when the problems come up the PR department will take care of it. I noticed that the Edmonton Journal has suddenly become way less vocal about all these horrendous issues. Paula Simon is suddenly writing about minor stuff. Someone must have sent an email to the new editor in chief.

  5. Joan Jett says:

    One has to wonder if there is an RFP or has Fred Horne promised this contract to someone already? Maybe someone who contributes to the PC party. The reality is that privatization will have a huge impact on the acute care hospitals. I’m sure emerg Docs are going to very impressed when they can’t get results fast enough because a private lab will dictate which tests are going to be done stat. Why isn’t the Alberta Medical Association making a fuss about this? The first thing Tammy Hofer told us is this isn’t about money! Then to sum up the “new lab model forum” Dr weesenburg said they don’t have the capital and there is no one in Alberta Health Services that can do this. Where is that report? Lies all lies I say!

  6. Needled ink says:

    Did you know that dynalife the existing provider of routine testing is owned by lab corp? They have a 43 percent interest in dynalife. The other 57 percent is owned by borealis

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Well this was expected. What else I ask? Maybe Fred Horne is a close friend to Lab Corp ownwer?
      Yes Tammy is right. This is never about money until we know the details of the contract. This is such an old used and abused plot. We all know what the next few months is bringing – more bad news for the patients and great news for the private interests and then we have people asking why people like Brand Russell, a nut himself, are starting to challenge the whole structure. Way more to come including the disgraceful end of this goverment and its clowns. I noticed that his majesty Lukaszuk his backtracking and getting cuddly with the Education Institutions from which he could benefit a lot if he goes back to school.

      • joan jett says:

        If we could only prove that this Lab deal is dirty, and expose this government for who they really are.

  7. I’m working on getting more information from our so-called “transparent” government and will do searches using the usual corporate databases, however this will take time. In the meantime we should let the government and the leaders of the opposition parties know that we, the public, are very concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding a $3 BILLION transaction. I’m going to send an email to Mr Horne edmonton.rutherford@assembly.ab.ca, with copies to Danielle Smith highwood@assembly.ab.ca, Brian Mason edmonton.highlandsnorwood@assembly.ab.ca, and Raj Sherman edmonton.meadowlark@assembly.ab.ca. I will tell them I have 3 concerns (1) what’s the business case for the expenditure of $3 billion in tax payer dollars on this project, (2) if it’s really required what’s the rationale for awarding the contract to a private corporation and how are they going to fix their due diligence process that allowed LabCorp to be one of the 3 pre-qualified bidders and (3) how is the government going to mitigate the risk created by sole-sourcing the services to ONE provider for 15 years.
    Of course emails don’t have to be that detailed, they could simply say: I’m deeply troubled by MR Horne’s announcement that he is going to award a $3 Billion 15 year service contract to one provider and urge you to reconsider.
    I’ll let you know if and when I get a reply.

    • Joan Jett says:

      Thanks! I have sent letters to Fred Horne and Alison Redford, but no response yet. We are working on getting the word out to the public. I spoke with the Alberta medical association, and they seem to think this process is on hold. Our question from acute care hospitals is why does Fred want hospital labs to be private where the focus needs to be on fast response, so docs get their results quickly. This didn’t work in 1995 and AHS took the labs back in 2006. Why did they do that? They aren’t telling us that. They aren’t telling us a lot of things. Crack this case wide open Susan, the public needs to know!

      • Joan, thanks for reminding us about the failed experiment in 1995, that raises the question, what’s changed since 2006 to cause the $3 billion about-face. I will contact some people I know at the Journal and Herald as well.
        Carlos, thanks for helping. This post picked 800 hits in the first couple of days and is going strong. It’s followed by media like HuffPost, Alberta Views, various journalists, politicians, academics, lawyers, organizations representing doctors and nurses, and advocacy groups active in healthcare, eldercare, poverty, etc.

      • Joan Jett says:

        Yes! That IS THE QUESTION… why did AHS and Covenant health take control of the hospital labs back from Dynalife? I can tell you that 75% of Lab Techs were laid off and hospital labs were stripped of equipement. The remaining staff were left to do “stat” hospital work could not cope with the work load at the hospital, because doctors and nurses soon figured out if they ordered everything stat, they would get their results in a timely manor. The hospital emergency departments ICU, and surgical units could not wait 4-5 hours for a sample to be sent to the base lab and analyzed. The UofA hospital and the CCI were NOT part of the deal in 1995. This time, ALL hospital labs will be affected. There is so much the government is not telling us, like the REAL reason they are doing this.

      • Joan Jett says:

        If you were invited to a town hall meeting with Tammy Hofer, VP Lab services AHS and Dr James Wesenberg, Provincial Medical/Scientific Director, Laboratory Services who are the AHS diad for the private laboratory service provider procurement process for Edmonton North and Central Zones, what questions would you ask? I must add that the above individuals stated in a Town Hall meeting of front line workers, that while the lab service provider would be a private company, AHS will maintain management of the partnership. If the private lab makes too much money, AHS will take their cut. Oh ya and AHS will have no more than 6 levels of management!

      • Joan, I’d ask the following questions:
        1. Why did AHS take back lab services in 2006 (obviously something went wrong, how is AHS going to ensure that the same things don’t go wrong again?)
        2. What’s driving the 6% increase in demand for lab tests (it’s not just population growth). If we knew what’s causing the increased demand we’d have a better chance of responding to it. Where is the growth happening? All over Alberta, just in the Edmonton area?
        3. Why is building a state-of-the-art $3 billion super lab a better solution than expanding existing labs or building a smaller lab?
        4. In the business world we avoid a sole-source provider contracts like the plague because once you sign the contract you can’t threaten to go elsewhere if they don’t perform. A 15 year deal is unheard of unless you’re getting financing or some other HUGE benefit from the provider. What is AHS getting in return for giving up its freedom of choice?
        5. If we sign sole-source contracts in business we always include penalty clauses saying we’ll pay less or terminate the contract if the quality or timeliness slips below a certain standard. So what’s the AHS standard for quality and timeliness? Is it one instance of shoddy service or five? Does it depend on the type of shoddy service–life threatening or just makes the patient sicker but not dead? How will AHS monitor to ensure this standard is met? At what level will AHS terminate the contract? People’s lives may hang in the balance here so I’d give be really tough on this standard.
        6. What’s AHS’s backup plan if it has to terminate as per #5? All the other labs will disappear or get smaller so how will AHS handle the volume of tests coming back to them?
        7. What’s the private company’s disaster recovery plan (remember the debacle when the Shaw computer facilities burned up).
        8. What happens if the private company goes bankrupt or merges with an undesirable entity? AHS would want to audit the companies financial to get an early warning of financial troubles that could lead to bankruptcy. The contract should give AHS the right to bail if it’s not happy with a proposed merger partner. Then we’re back to what’s AHS’ back up plan see #6.
        9. How will the private company be paid? Will the fees escalate year over year, if so by how much? Is this escalation what you’d expect to pay in the public sector? If it’s higher the taxpayer is being hosed, if it’s lower, AHS is dreaming because the private company will not make its profit margins without cutting back on service levels, quality and timeliness will deteriorate and patients will suffer.
        10. How will AHS address the impact on patients? For example how will patients who used to get all their tests and treatment in one facility (say the Cross) be shuttled back and forth between the Cross and the super lab? What about out of town patients who used to get their tests closer to home but now have to spend the night in a Motel 6 because the only lab service is the super lab?
        11. How will AHS address the impact on professionals. See Anne’s comments above –where will the professionals presently employed in the labs work, how will they be shuttled back and forth between the super lab and their clinical teams?
        12. The comment that AHS will “take a cut” if the private lab makes too much money is ridiculous. A private company knows how to manage its operations so that it never shows “too much profit” on its books (the profit is plowed back into a new super duper machine or research or to an affiliate or something). It won’t come to AHS unless AHS adds clauses to the contract that give AHS audit rights to inspect the books and confirm what money is coming in, where it’s being spent, and what the excess is. Defining “excess” profits is very tricky. I doubt that AHS has the expertise to do this right. They need competent commercial legal firm to do it for them.

        Joan, I have to go out now but I’ll give this some more thought and if I come up with anything else I’ll add it to the list sometime tomorrow.

  8. Carlos Beca says:

    Susan I will do the same and I will let everyone that I know and that cares what we are trying to do. Do you know how many people read this blog every week?

  9. Joan Jett says:

    Excellent questions Susan. As front line workers, we tend to think of the patients, and how this will impact them, we are not included on the business aspect of Lab services. Well let me tell you, we are very interested now. I really appreciate your input on this. I will be asking the above questions, now let’s see if I get some honest answers.

    • Joan, even a non-answer will tell you something–either AHS doesn’t know (which means they’re doing this blindly) or won’t tell you (which means they have something to hide). Both are equally bad. I’ll let you know whether I make any progress with the media and politicians. Good luck!

  10. Carlos Beca says:

    Joan those are very valid questions but I already know the answers. Do your job and shut up. Who cares about caring, efficiency or whatever else? This is a contract that it is within the ideology, favours some private company that for sure will reward them and the rest is fluff. The future is for someone else to resolve if at all possible. If you have a different idea, you are a left wing nut and a complainer.

    • Carlos, if nothing else, exposing the rationale (or lack thereof) of this contract may demonstrate that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time, and that’s worth something.

    • Joan Jett says:

      Carlos, that is exactly what we did in 1995, those who were fortunate enough to have jobs. We were bullied by management and told we were lucky to have a job. In 2006 AHS bought the Labs Back, AHS decided it was not working, No, we will not shut up, we know a lot more this time around, and hopefully we can expose the REAL reason the government is doing this. The 2016 election can’t come soon enough. Call me crazy, but I believe we can make a difference

      • carlosbeca says:

        I am sorry that I sounded dismissive of your point but that was not my intention. I was just telling what happens all the time. I absolutely agree with you.

  11. Joan, I’m with you…we can make a difference. The first step is challenging what they’re telling us. All the best.

  12. Lunelle says:


    To answer one of your questions, I was told that the pay increase from AHS to this private company would be 2% yearly. I don’t know what the base number is that they will be calculating this percentage from. The only number I know is the $3 billion from AHS to the private company. It has never been said how this 3 billion will be paid, or when. Is it a single payment of $3 billion at the start of the contract, or is it spread out and divided in equal payments over the 15 year contract? Is the 2% yearly increase based on the 3 billion total that AHS is paying, or is it based on the spread out yearly payments?

    The government has projected a 6% yearly increase in lab usage, yet they are only paying a 2% yearly increase to this private company? There is a 4% difference there….who will pay that difference, better yet, how will any private company make money (because that is their ultimate end goal) based on these numbers? I KNOW how they did this when hospital labs were privatized in 1995…WE ALL PAID!!!! The Alberta public paid the price. Long turn around times for critical test results, resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment!! Employees paid the ultimate price. Intimidation, threats, cuts in every aspect of life (work and personal). Joan Jett touched on a few on these, and they are waaaaaaay to numerous to list!!!!!!

    We, as lab technologists, were trusting and naive in 1995. We have not just been burnt by privatization, we are permanently scarred! We are no longer trusting or accepting. We are asking questions that no one can answer, or they don’t want to answer. As you said, even a non answer is an answer….We are standing up for all Albertans and their healthcare, even though they don’t know it.

    • Excellent points Lunelle. The private lab is not a charity, it’s goal is to make money (and it will one way or another). The 2% increase would barely keep up with inflation so there must be a very nice profit built into the base number which of course is compounding at 2% year after year. Just for comparison, highly regulated pipeline companies get returns of 10% or better. One would hope that the private lab which was constructed and operated at the tax payer’s expense would be not be generating profits in excess of a pipeline utility company.
      Given that the financial stuff is quite confusing, especially if AHS is “selective” with its answers, it might be easier to pin them down on what went wrong in 2006, how much it cost the taxpayer to take back the lab and how AHS will guarantee that the same problems won’t arise this time around. Your real life examples are very compelling.
      Lastly, I’d like to THANK YOU for asking questions and for standing up for the rest of us. You are very brave. I will do everything I can to publicize this issue for all our sakes. Please continue to comment on this post as the issue unfolds.

  13. Lunelle says:

    Susan, sorry it has taken me a while to respond. I’ve been a little busy! I sincerely accept your thanks and appreciation! I, however, am not the only one who is asking questions, and more…..I accept your thanks on behalf of the MANY who are doing the RIGHT thing!

    Very interesting developments lately. I have learned that late last night (11pm Friday night) the CEO of AHS was removed from his position and was replaced with 2 coCEOs. The post on facebook shows that this was published in the Calgary Herald. Why didn’t it originate in the Edmonton Journal? In the health zone that is affected? Why did it hit the Herald at 11pm on Friday night? An odd time. Under the guise of night, very late, on a weekend. Maybe it will just slip through and no one will notice.

    According to the article, it was due to the complexity of the job that AHS decided to have 2 CEOs. An interesting comment on Facebook – why demote him? Why not just add one more, if it is really about the complexity? Was he not controllable enough? Maybe if there’s 2 CEOs, they can keep each other in line with the government agenda. When one of them grows a brain, or a heart, and descends into the real world, the other can slap them back into fairytale land. Fred Horne will not have to do any more slapping, it will be an internal slap, that will not make the news. Growing a brain, or a heart – sounds like the Wizard of Oz. Who is the wizard, or wizardess?

    A little AHS history – local health boards dismantled, a provincial superboard created, 3 CEOs replaced, superboard fired, and replaced, 2 interim CEOs appointed. How many millions of healthcare dollars were paid in compensation packages to all these appointees in the last 2 or 3 years? How much more of our tax dollars, healthcare dollars will be spent in this fashion?

    I have also learned that the AHS presenters at the lab forums (pseudo consultations) are now getting abusive with the people asking questions. The forums where the frontline workers are encouraged to ask questions and share their comments and concerns. This is very disturbing!!!
    Based on past experience during the last hospital lab privatization, I was wondering when the intimidation and bullying was going to start, and who it would come from first. I think I have my answer.

    Another comment on facebook – frontline workers were told (I’m paraphrasing) that some of their questions cannot be answered and concerns could not be addressed because of legalities. Dealing with these questions and concerns would give a local company bidding for the contract an unfair advantage over international companies.

    A response to this on facebook – (again paraphrasing) the people directly affected are not being told everything about this RFP, (the supposed blueprint of purchase) and they will NOT be told. ALL their questions and concerns will not be answered or addressed. They are expected to blindly agree and trust the AHS. That worked so well in the past! NOT!!! And this is the “consultation” process? Not by my definition!

    This is just the “tip of the iceberg”.

    • Lunelle
      I’ll sure you’ve been tremendously busy! I saw the Herald article about Duncan Campbell being sent back to his CFO job. The “coincidence” of this happening so soon after his tweet is hard to ignore. I’m going to blog about this and all the other AHS shuffles this weekend.

      Your comments about the hostile reactions you’re getting to legitimate questions is very disturbing. As a lawyer I understand the concept of confidentiality (it would apply to the bidder’s response to the bid, but not necessarily to the RFP itself because AHS should have sent the same RFP bid package to all three bidders). There is nothing to stop the AHS presenter from telling you that the bid package does indeed contain standards for timeliness, accuracy, quality, etc. and a requirement that the bidders demonstrate how they’d address bankruptcy or merger over the next 15 years. The local bidder would NOT get an advantage if AHS confirmed this to you because all three bidders would see this requirement in their bid packages–unless AHS failed to put this requirement in the bid package in the first place (which would be appalling).

      I’ve written a scathing letter to Fred Horne with a copy to Alison Redford and all the opposition leaders. Danielle Smith responded to me and Carlos saying that the Wildrose is very concerned about the lack of consultation and transparency around this process and will continue to press the issue in the Legislature. I’m also talking to the Liberal party about this and have contacted some people in the media who said they’d look into this. I appreciate all that you and your colleagues are doing to protect Albertans from where we might end up as a result of this shoddy process. Please don’t jeopardize your careers, just know that we’re with you and will continue to shine a spotlight on Fred Horne and the AHS until this is resolved one way or another.

  14. Joan Jett says:

    Hi Susan i also received a letter back from the Wildrose party stating the same things. We asked AHS who owns the building Dynalife is in and there was a huge pause……then Bill Trafford told us it was Aimco and that they plan to build a huge office tower there. We also heard that Mr Katz sits on the board of directors for Aimco. This deal has been in the works for quite some time. Jason Pincock from Dynalife is telling his staff that they pretty much have the deal, and the RFP is just a formallity. It’s all making sense now. And another AHS CEO bites the dust! We were just getting to know him! We would like to invite you to our Rally this friday Nov 22 in front of Fred Horne’s office at 3:30. If you could make it that would be great and spead the word to your media conections. Looking forward to your next post.

    • This is amazing information Joan, like wheels within wheels the facts are slowly coming out thanks to the persistence of people like you and Lunelle. Jason Pincock’s comment that Dynalife has the deal all sewn up is shocking especially considering the comment made by the AHS presenter who refused to give details about the bid because it would give the local bidder an unfair advantage. A commenter earlier in the chain pointed out that LabCorp is a part owner of Dynalife.

      Thank you for inviting me to the Rally this Friday. I live in Calgary and won’t be able to come but I’ll spread the word among my MLA contacts and the media. The address I have for Horne’s office is 308 Saddleback Road, Edmonton. Is that where you’ll be meeting?

      All the very best to you and your friends Joan and thank you for not letting this issue slip away without a fight.

      • joan jett says:

        Yes 308 Saddleback Road. Friday nov22 at 330. Three unions will be present AUPE CUPE and HSAA. As well as concerned public. Everyone is welcome!

  15. Thanks Joan, looks like it will be a great rally!!! I’ll pass this along. All the best.

  16. John Smith says:

    I’m not sure where this confusion is coming from, I work at AHS and am a lab worker, the state of the art lab is only $50 million or so, 3 billion is the contract to do lab testing for edmonton and the northern region for 15 years. The notion that the lab itself is going to be 3 billion is ridiculous.

  17. Thanks for your comment John. There are two issues that most of us are concerned about, neither is connected with the cost of building the lab itself. The first is that the $3 B contract is going to a sole service provider for a 15 year term. These leaves the government and the people of Alberta at the service provider’s mercy if (more likely when) service levels decline. Once you put all your eggs in one basket it’s hard to get them back out again when the basket crashes to the ground. The second issue is a concern that the consolidation of all lab services for northern Alberta in Edmonton will impact the quality of patient care. This concern has been raised by 90 pathologists and other healthcare professionals in letters to AHS, Anne sets out these concerns in more detail in her comments above.

    • John Smith says:

      Oh I absolutely agree that this is a terrible idea, all I meant was that it is getting implied that the 3 billion is for some amazing new lab. The literature is clear, private for profit labs enevitably will cost taxpayers much more. A pamphlet has been circulating using vitamin d testing as a comparison of costs between private and public. Life labs in B.C. Charge $72 per test while public labs in Saskatchewan charge around $18. This government likes to think that private labs will save them money but as it has been written on this forums, private companies will leave, then the government has to step in to pick up the pices as in 2006. I’m glad you are bringing awareness to an otherwise silent situation that most Albertans are unaware of.

      • John, that’s a great example…$72 versus $18 for the same test. Makes you wonder what planet the government is on if it actually thinks this privatization will save them and the taxpayers any money.
        Thanks for the support and welcome to the Soapbox!

  18. Lunelle says:

    Hi Susan,

    I wasn’t sure where to put this latest information, as it could apply to almost any of your posts, but since it was specifically lab related, I entered it here.

    An interesting link showed up on FB, detailing the incompetency of Labcorp in the US. One of the companies, associated with Dynalife,(Lablife owns 43% of Dynalife) who, by association and ownership is vying for the $3 billion hospital lab privatization contract from AHS.


    Not only has Labcorp been proven to practice fraudulent billing practices in the states, it has now been proven that negligence is a problem as well. Of all things, with genetics (genome) testing!

    It is interesting that one of the reasons AHS (the government) is stating that this privatization is needed is to perform specialized testing that is currently not being done here and they have given the example of genetics testing.

    In the following Edm Journal article (about half way down, the specific example of genetic testing is mentioned.


    What is going on here???!!!! Is anyone in the government performing due diligence on these companies???!!! Maybe they are, and that thought is even worse!!!!

    Do Albertans really want to rely on for-profit, fraudulent billing, negligent private companies to provide quality healthcare? Especially when relying on them for genetic testing, special protein testing, and, as was referred to in the article above, cancer testing! Negligence????!!! Erroneous results that treatment is based upon?????!!! With Labcorp, this has been proven once, how many times has it gone undetected??????!!!!!! Like Labcorp, Quest (another company in the running) has also shown to demonstrate fraudulent billing practices. I wonder what else they practice????!! This is all VERY scary!!!!!!

    AHS has never mentioned anything about the sale of all the expensive analyzers, equipment, furniture, and existing stock (including the expensive reagents). Are they actually selling them to the private company, if so, at what cost? Are they just handing everything over to this successful company? Exactly what are these private companies “bidding” for????

    Far tooo many questions left unanswered!!!!!!!

  19. Thanks for this Lunelle. Very timely. I’m researching the RFP now and will blog on it this weekend. Based on what I’ve seen so far I agree–there are far too many questions left unanswered. Stay tuned!

  20. Lunelle says:

    I look forward to it, TY!!!

  21. Lab lady says:

    You know the Super Lab is going to be a processing facility right? And that it will be paid for by the winner member?..

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