A private Calgary clinic contracted by the Alberta government to do hip and knee surgeries is facing bankruptcy after one of its creditors applied for a bankruptcy order against the company.
The Health Resources Centre, located in the former Grace Hospital in the northwest, is the only overnight facility in Calgary for orthopedic surgeries. It is in the middle of a legal fight with one of its creditors.
Alberta Health Services, which oversees health-care delivery in the province, has filed an application in the Court of Queen's Bench for a receiver to be appointed so the facility can keep operating.
Since 2006, the centre has been doing about 900 orthopedic surgeries a year — or one-third of the hip, knee, foot and ankle operations in the city — that are paid for by the province.
Deb Gordon, an AHS senior vice-president, said so far operations have not been affected and the province hopes scheduled surgeries will proceed.
If the centre does close, health officials will have to try to squeeze patients into the three main hospitals in Calgary.
'It raises questions about what the role of the private delivery versus the public funding is.' —David Swann, Alberta Liberal leader
"But if that option fails as I said we'll work with our doctors and nurses and find the solutions that we can," said Dr. John Kortbeek, chief of surgery for Calgary.
"In the short term those solutions could only be additional after-hours surgery or looking at the small window of summer closures that we have and using surgeons and anesthetists who were scheduled to work at HRC to work in that potential extra summer capacity."
Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann, who is also a medical doctor, questioned the province's arrangement with the clinic.
"This has thrown some real uncertainty into the system and the government can reassure people that they will continue to try to fund those things, but then we are backstopping a private organization and it raises questions about what the role of the private delivery versus the public funding is," said Swann.
Eight new operating rooms will help ease the crunch once the new McCaig Tower at the Foothills Hospital opens, which is slated for early winter, said Kortbeek.