Alberta Health Services (AHS) is the provincial health agency tasked with delivering health services to Albertans.
Alberta Health is the government department that sets policy, legislation and standards for the health system in Alberta. It also:
- allocates funding for and oversees AHS and many other health agencies and boards
- pays physicians
- is responsible for primary care
- protects Albertans from infectious diseases
- administers provincial programs such as the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan
The relationship between the government departments that fund and oversee compliance with health policy and the health authorities that deliver health services is challenging across Canada.
With only one health authority in Alberta, we are better off than other places but still have room to improve, specifically around areas where both Alberta Health and AHS have a role to play.
AHS review recommendations
The AHS performance review report made 8 recommendations (numbers 45-52 of 57) related to:
- examining roles
- looking for areas where duplication exists and accountability could be improved
- Strengthen the accountability interface between Alberta Health and AHS to clarify responsibilities, put in place a coordinated annual planning process and develop an effective performance management framework.
- Consider assigning a senior leader within Alberta Health with primary responsibility for strengthening and managing the accountability interface between the Department and AHS.
- Create a dedicated independent providers secretariat.
- Alberta Health should develop a funding model that separates system funding into three categories: global budgets, targeted grants for priority areas and funds for independent provider services.
- End the current Covenant Health Cooperation and Services Agreement and develop a new agreement that enables more effective system coordination by AHS.
- Develop and formalize clear operational accountability frameworks for primary care and information technology.
- Reconsider the number, mandate and governance of strategic clinical networks to more efficiently leverage them to achieve health system priorities.
- Be diligent in completing the consolidation of the provincial health system and actively seek to avoid retrenchment to unnecessary local variation in care delivery.
See the other recommendations from the AHS performance review: