AHS seeks to provide more publicly-funded surgeries for Albertans

April 13, 2021

Plan calls for an expansion of chartered surgical facilities to reduce wait times 

EDMONTON – AHS, with guidance from the Health Contracting Secretariat established by Alberta Health, is issuing a Request for Proposals for ophthalmology chartered surgical facilities (CSF) today. 

“Timely access to surgeries is important to Albertans,” says Health Minister Tyler Shandro. “No one should have to wait long for their surgery. CSFs are one essential way to add capacity for publicly-funded surgeries, and are also a part of our surgical recovery planning.” 

This RFP is part of the Alberta Surgical Initiative (ASI) being implemented to ensure all Albertans receive scheduled surgeries within clinically appropriate targets. 

“Cataract and ophthalmology surgeries have long wait lists with many Albertans waiting longer than is clinically appropriate,” says AHS Vice President, Quality, and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francois Belanger. “This expansion of publicly-funded surgeries with CSFs will help manage the increased surgical demand and enhance capacity in particularly high needs areas such as cataract surgeries for Albertans.” 

These independent facilities provide safe, low-risk surgeries without cost to patients, allowing hospitals to focus on emergency and more complex surgeries. Each facility is required to follow AHS policies and practices, ensuring Albertans continue to receive consistent, safe, high-quality care.  

“We already collaborate with partners to perform a number of surgical procedures at our CSFs,” says Dr. Belanger. “These are publicly-funded procedures performed in a private facility. It’s a way for AHS — and many other health systems across Canada — to expand surgeries and reduce wait times.” 

In 2020, out of 290,000 surgeries performed annually for Albertans, CSFs provided 15 per cent, or 44,000 surgeries.  

The ophthalmology RFP will seek cataract and non-cataract surgeries in CSFs in Edmonton and Calgary. These changes will improve access, reduce wait times for surgery for patients and provide capacity for procedures that require hospital care. For more information, please see these FAQs

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.