Alberta transitions provider of laboratory services

Laboratory services in Strathmore, as well as those across the province are being transferred by the provincial government from DynaLIFE to Alberta Precision Laboratories in an effort to reduce wait times.

Alberta Precision Laboratories is owned by Alberta Health Services (AHS), and has been assisting in the provision of services to Albertans since Aug. 3, following an announcement by the province.

“It is unacceptable that Albertans are facing constant delays to get a simple test or blood work done,” said Premier Danielle Smith in a statement at the time. “Lab tests are a critical part of a patient’s health care journey from diagnosis to treatment, and Albertans must be able to access them when and where they need them. That’s why we have directed Alberta Health Services to make changes right now.”

The new community lab in Strathmore was made available to patients as of Dec. 2022 in order to continue to provide local services to the community. This was to be a temporary site while DynaLIFE constructed their permanent location, which has yet to open.

In July, DynaLIFE stated there was no specific opening date confirmed for the permanent laboratory services location in Strathmore, however upon opening, it is anticipated to double the capacity of the temporary site.

The announcement that Alberta Precision Laboratories would be taking over from DynaLIFE was released Aug. 18, with acknowledgement from the province that over the past several months, delays and wait times have made accessing laboratory services difficult.

According to the province, an agreement in principle has been reached with ownership of DynaLIFE to transfer staff, equipment and property in all regions of the province to Alberta Precision Laboratories.

“Lab services are crucial in the diagnosis and treatment of Albertans. It is wholly unacceptable that Albertans had to face long waits and delays to get simple blood work done,” said Smith. “I’ve been clear that improving our health care system is a top priority for our government and fixing these delays is one more step we’re taking to ensure Albertans can access the health care they need, when and where they need it, now and into the future.”

The province has stated all existing appointments and lab services will continue to be provided as schedules and additional patient capacity will be added as soon as possible. Booking appointments and receiving services will be through the same avenues and locations as previously.

DynaLIFE took over lab services from AHS in late 2022, when many hospitals’ priorities were shifted to focus on emergency, inpatient, and ambulatory patients.

Since the announcement of transfer of services, the Alberta NDP have called for a financial audit into DynaLIFE.

“We ask that you investigate the failure of private company DynaLIFE to fulfill its obligations to provide lab services and the cost of moving those services back into the public service through Alberta Precision Labs,” NDP Health Critic for Primary and Rural Care David Shephard wrote in a letter to auditor general Doug Wylie.

“All indications are that the decision around lab services made by the Government will cost Albertans dearly and we believe a great deal of trust has been broken with patients requiring — and deserving — quality lab services.”

The transition from DynaLIFE to Alberta Precision Laboratories is expected to be completed by December of this year.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times