EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services (AHS) announced today that it is following similar cost-containment measures as those being implemented by the Government of Alberta. AHS received direction from the Ministry of Health on Dec. 22, 2014, to implement cost restraints.
“As the organization that receives about 30 per cent of the provincial operating budget, it is fair and reasonable for AHS to control costs in light of the current financial position for the province,” said Vickie Kaminski, AHS President and CEO. “I want to assure all Albertans that we are immediately focused on cost reductions that will not have an impact on direct patient care.”
As was outlined by the provincial government, AHS is currently implementing cost-containment measures in three key areas:
● Payroll/staffing costs – Each portfolio will have a hiring restraint initiative that takes into consideration a number of criteria before filling a vacancy. Those criteria include whether the position is involved in direct patient care; whether the duties can be consolidated with other positions; and whether the position is regular, temporary, casual, and full or part time.
● Procurement of goods and services – Due diligence is to be exercised for purchases not related to direct patient care, and use of consultants and external professional services will be limited.
● Grants/discretionary spending – All areas of the organization are expected to achieve a reduction in their travel expenditures and travel is limited to circumstances where connecting electronically is not appropriate (for instance, to provide specific clinical training). Training that requires travel outside of Alberta is restricted to training that is associated with specialized clinical procedures.
While these actions are being taken, Kaminski pointed out that realizing significant savings in these areas will be limited due to the fact they represent a small percentage of the AHS total budget and the end of the fiscal year is less than two months away.