Ernst & Young wins $2M contract to review Alberta Health Services

The review is expected to find efficiencies and cost savings, the government says.

Final report due to government by Dec. 31

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the AHS review will follow through on a UCP campaign commitment. (Manuel Carrillos/CBC)

Multinational professional services company Ernst & Young (EY) has been awarded a $2-million contract to review Alberta Health Services, the provincial government announced Thursday.

The review is designed "to drive greater efficiencies, examine administrative costs and improve access and service levels," the province said in a news release.

Campaigning in February, now-premier Jason Kenney said he would commission a performance review of AHS within 30 days of taking office. At the time, he said he wanted to ensure that health-care dollars go to front-line services instead of administration.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Thursday the review will deliver on that promise. It will be the first review in the history of AHS, which was created in 2008.

"This is about a third party coming in and reviewing the structure, processes, programs of AHS and being able to give us the feedback on whether taxpayers' money is being spent in the most efficient way," Shandro told reporters.

"This is not about blowing anything up. This is about building on the strength of our AHS employees. I have nothing but respect and admiration for everything that they do. This is about building on their strength."

Also during the run-up to the April election, Kenney pledged that if elected he would save the province $200 million by cancelling a plan to upgrade Alberta Health Service laundry facilities and contract that work out instead.

Shandro said on Thursday the review will not be focused on finding ways to deliver services through the private sector.

"I don't want to pre-judge what kind of savings that we can get, what EY is going to find for us and what they are going to suggest," he said.

The review process will include consultations with AHS staff, physicians and other stakeholders in the health system.

The final report is due to government by Dec. 31.

Shandro said the report will be made public but didn't say when it would be released.

The review will include:

  • A comprehensive examination of AHS structure and organization.
  • Evaluation of programs, services and policies to identify potential areas to reduce costs and improve performance.
  • Identification of opportunities to make AHS operations more responsive to the front lines and Albertans.
  • Comparisons to other provinces and best practices.

EY was chosen after a request for proposals that closed June 28. Four proposals were received, Shandro said. They were evaluated by a team of senior Alberta government officials.

AHS has more than 102,000 employees and a budget of $15.2 billion.