Alberta Health Services pares down infrastructure wish-list

Alberta Health Services has decided to pare down its infrastructure demands, handing the province a shorter list that emphasizes a handful of smaller, lower-cost projects.

The health authority’s “Capital Submission” is prepared once a year as part of the government’s process for determining which infrastructure projects to fund.

The list has typically featured at least 20 projects ranked as urgent priorities, including a number of expensive, high-profile developments.

Last year’s list, for example, called for redevelopments of the Royal Alexandra and Misericordia hospitals, while past lists have included a new tower for the Red Deer Regional Hospital and construction of a handful of rural hospitals. None of those projects have been approved.

The latest AHS submission has just nine projects, none of which is estimated to cost more than $125 million.

The health authority said it was asked to scale back its requests this year to reflect that the NDP government recently committed to a handful of costly health infrastructure projects.

Those include the new Calgary Cancer Centre ($1.4 billion), an Edmonton suburban hospital (potentially up to $2 billion) and a new Edmonton lab facility ($325 million or more) — all of which will eat up much of the province’s infrastructure budget for years to come.

“Alberta Health encouraged AHS to submit a succinct list of projects … that promote the transition of care into community settings or are deemed critically urgent,” the health authority said in a statement Friday.

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The new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital is inching closer to looking like an actual hospital as work continues on the facility as seen here on Tuesday November 3, 2015 in Grande Prairie, Alta. Sarah Hoffman Minister of Health and Seniors confirmed on Tuesday that work is continuing on the structure but the facility is now scheduled to be completed in 2019. Jocelyn Turner/Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune/Postmedia Network

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The new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital is going to cost a lot more than first thought and its opening was delayed until 2019.

The new list has already generated controversy in Red Deer, where residents have been clamouring for a $750-million hospital expansion that would include a cardiac catheterization lab. In a Facebook post, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman acknowledged the city’s two NDP MLAs, Barb Miller and Kim Schreiner, had expressed disappointment at being left off the AHS list.

It’s unclear what the reaction will be among rural communities looking for a new hospital that have been featured on the priority list in past years, including Wainwright, Beaverlodge and Cardston.

The nine projects on the list this year:

• Royal Alexandra energy centre expansion ($65 million to $75 million): The project calls for the existing 1986-built facility to be doubled in size. AHS says more power is needed to accommodate upcoming and future redevelopments of CapitalCare Norwood, the Glenrose and Royal Alex hospital.

• Medical device reprocessing facilities ($93 million): This project would involve eight hospitals most in need …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal – Politics


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