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DynaLife was the lone candidate left in Alberta lab RFP, Minister LaGrange says

Alberta’s health minister said she’ll be keeping a close eye on procurement after a failed lab services privatization deal left thousands of citizens without timely appointments and results.

Last week, the province backtracked on a deal with DynaLife for the contracting out of laboratory services, moving it back to Alberta Health Services’ subsidiary, Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL).

The decision to contract out hundreds of thousands of lab appointments left many waiting weeks or months for appointments and results as DynaLife struggled to maintain services across Alberta.

On Tuesday, at the opening of the new PLC emergency department in Calgary, Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said that the company had operated in Edmonton and Northern Alberta successfully for decades. She responded to comments Premier Danielle Smith made on the weekend that there was a failure in due diligence with the procurement of labs services.

“I think what the premier was alluding to, by the time the RFP was determined, there was only one company left which was DynaLife,” Minister LaGrange said.

“Perhaps there should have been some discussion at that time to reopen the RFP.”

The Alberta NDP was quick to pounce on the government’s admission they made an error in the acquisition of DynaLife services.

“Today, Minister LaGrange confirmed that DynaLife was the only applicant left at the end of the process. That alone should have been enough for the UCP to stop their scheme to end the public consolidation of lab services, but instead they carried on,” said David Shepherd, NDP health critic.

“The result has been undue stress and pressure on lab workers, delays for Albertans in need of these services, and wasted tax dollars. This is unacceptable.”

Eye on future procurement: Minister LaGrange

Minister LaGrange said that what was happening to Albertans seeking lab services was unacceptable and couldn’t continue. That’s why the switch back to APL was made.

She said they’d tried to support Dynalife by adding additional appointments through APL. That didn’t work, she said.

“That did not seem to be working,” LaGrange said.

“The owners of Dynalife were wanting to get out so this is the best possible situation that could happen because now we are stabilizing the system, making sure that every Albertan who needs a lab appointment gets it in a timely fashion, and that they get results back quickly. Because oftentimes lives and diagnoses are hanging in the balance.”

LaGrange said that she can’t go back and relitigate the procurement process.

“I can tell you that I will certainly be looking at future contracts and the procurement process to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” she said.

DynaLife and the Government of Alberta signed a memorandum of understanding for the switch back to APL. When asked what the cost of that would be, LaGrange said it’s being finalized.

“I can’t share that at this point in time, but we’ll be happy to provide the details as time progresses,” she said.