LifeLabs closing 15 patient labs, three testing facilities in bid to reduce costs – CTV News

LifeLabs, the largest medical lab provider in Ontario, is closing patient labs in 15 communities along with testing facilities in Ottawa, London and Thorold.

Hours of operation are also being cut at 53 locations, the company said in a questions and answers document posted on its website. The company said it is eliminating a total of 122 jobs.

“Over the last several years, we have demonstrated tremendous efficiency by managing a growing volume of patients resulting in service and inflationary pressures while at the same time operating within a constrained fiscal environment,” reads a statement signed by LifeLabs president and CEO Sue Paish.

Read the full article on CTVnews.ca

LifeLabs to close 15 patient service centres – Toronto Star

Hours of operation to be reduced at 53 other sites in province’s biggest lab chain.

Ontario’s largest medical laboratory company is shedding more than 100 staff and closing the doors of 15 patient service centres that collect and process patient samples such as blood and urine.

Toronto-based LifeLabs announced last week its plan to also reduce hours of operations at 53 other collection sites. Laboratory testing facilities in Thorold, London and Ottawa — where samples are analyzed — will close.

“While these kinds of operational decisions are never easy, we believe they are necessary,” LifeLabs CEO Sue Paish wrote on the company’s website. Most of the closures will take place in March and April.

Read Full Article at TheStar.com

Local LifeLabs Not Impacted By Cuts – Blackburn News

The Sarnia area’s two LifeLabs locations will not be impacted by downsizing announced by the Toronto-based company.

LifeLabs announced last week it will shed more than 100 staff and close 15 patient centres in Ontario.

The medical laboratory company also announced 53 of its collection sites will see hours of operation reduced.

In an email to BlackburnNews.com, LifeLabs Communications Manager Stephanie Sayer confirms local service centres on Exmouth St. in Sarnia and on Mara St. in Point Edward will not be affected.

She says there are no impacts “in terms of either consolidations or reduced hours.”

It’s expected most of the closures will take place in March and April, including testing facilities in London, Thorold and Ottawa.

The cuts come less than three years after LifeLabs acquired Mississauga-based CML Healthcare Inc. for $1.2-billion.

Read the full article on BlackburnNews.com

LifeLabs shutting down 15 patient centres in Ontario, laying off 100 employees – CP24.com

A company that provides medical laboratory services is shutting down 15 patient services centres across the province.

In an open letter posted to its website, LifeLabs says it is consolidating patient service centres that are located near one another. Hours of operation are also being reduced at 53 other patient service centres where patients go to give blood and urine samples and have other testing done.

As part of the company’s consolidation efforts, testing facilities in Thorold, London and Ottawa will also be shut down. Samples previously sent to those facilities for testing will be sent to other Ontario facilities now, the company says.

Read the full article at CP24.com

 

100 Staff and 15 Patient Centres Lost as Ontario’s LifeLabs Executes Consolidation – News 880am

We’ve learned some more concrete numbers in the scaling down of the biggest medical laboratory company in Ontario.

Life Labs is reducing staff by about 100 and closing 15 patient centres in what a news release from the company calls a consolidation.

On February 23, Toronto’s LifeLabs posted a restructuring notice on it’s website, stating that testing facilities in Thorold, London and Ottawa would be casualties.

Read the full article on inews880.com

Thorold Life Lab among those slated to close in province wide cutback – News Talk 610 CKTB

Thorold Life Labs are among the sites named in the closure of some labs from Ontario’s largest medical labratory company.

Toronto-based Life Labs announcing it is shedding more than 100 staff and closing the doors of 15 patient service centres that collect and process patient samples.

Sites in Thorold, London and Ottawa are set to close.

Read the full article on News Talk 610cktb.com

Mysterious medical lab closings leave surviving labs struggling – Orangeville Citizen

The recent unexplained closure of three medical laboratories in Dufferin has led to increased patient volumes at two remaining labs and long wait times for those requiring services.

The two remaining labs – one in Orangeville, the other in Shelburne owned by the same firm – have been a lot busier since other labs in the area shut down. Patients in Orangeville are waiting about two hours for blood work, while those in Shelburne are waiting upwards of an hour on an average day.

Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones is hoping to bring much needed medical laboratory services back to the riding. She brought up the matter last week at Queen’s Park, asking Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long Term Care, to restore funding to physician services in the budget. The government cuts in this area, she said, are resulting in cuts to essential services which people in Orangeville and across the province rely on.

Read the full article at citizen.on.ca

LifeLabs to close 15 patient service centres – TheRecord.com

Hours of operation to be reduced at 53 other sites in province’s biggest lab chain

TORONTO — Ontario’s largest medical laboratory company is shedding more than 100 staff and closing the doors of 15 patient service centres that collect and process patient samples such as blood and urine.

Toronto-based LifeLabs announced earlier this week its plan to also reduce hours of operations at 53 other collection sites. Laboratory testing facilities in Thorold, London and Ottawa — where samples are analyzed — will close.

“While these kinds of operational decisions are never easy, we believe they are necessary,” LifeLabs chief executive officer Sue Paish wrote on the company’s website Tuesday. A majority of the closures will take place in March and April.

In an interview, Paish said the changes are part of an efficiency effort to cope with mounting costs, cutbacks in government funds and a higher volume of patients.

Read the full article on TheRecord.com

Community Patients Pay Price of Corporate Laboratory Control

For immediate release

Ontarians should be very concerned that thousands of patients are about to have their access to essential medical health services restricted by the needs of large private corporations, said Gerard Kennedy, spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition for Lab Reform (OCLR).

Lifelabs announced earlier this week the pending shutdown of 15 public service locations for community medical laboratory testing, as well as the ending of services to 11 other community test service locations across the province, contrary to a public promise made at the time of their 2013 takeover of CML Laboratories. It is also cutting hours at 53 further locations and laying off over 125 staff in Ontario. Lifelabs is guaranteed the same 62% of the province-wide OHIP payment for this service regardless. An estimated 500,000 visits from 180,000 community patients could be disrupted.

“Patients will lose services not because of government cutbacks, but rather company choice” said Kennedy “Our coalition members would be glad to replace the very same services that are being withdrawn for the same price but we are not currently allowed to do so.”

OCLR members have heard from physicians from various Toronto area locations threatened with the loss of lab services that are very concerned for their patients’ wellbeing. In one case, a group ob-gyn doctors feel their patients will be at risk without the benefit of their integrated ultrasound and other diagnostic services for their pregnancies. “Lack of timely testing and possibly even missed testing will result in decreased medical care” says Dr. Georgina Wilcock an ob-gyn in a clinic of over 15 doctors at 1920 Ellesmere Road. In a second in Etobicoke, patients will be forced to travel an additional 3.4 kilometres.

“We need a public debate on community medical laboratory reform” said Kennedy who is also CEO of Alpha Laboratories “Funding should follow the patient, and the patients’ needs should be at the centre of public healthcare decisions, not the requirements of large private corporations.”

The Ontario Coalition for Lab Reform is a group of owner operated medical laboratories, non-profit laboratory organizations, laboratory professionals, healthcare providers, and allied health services.

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For more information, please contact Krystyna Mularczyk at (647)-292-0423

Download Press Release

@HealthyDebate.ca : Ontario’s private outpatient lab sector needs overhaul, say critics

Ontario’s system for funding private medical laboratories has been controversial since it was set up almost two decades ago.

Now, facing critics who have only gotten louder, the government may be considering reform. In her mandate letter after last year’s election, Premier Kathleen Wynne asked Health Minister Eric Hoskins to “explore opportunities to optimize quality and value in community laboratories.”

‘Community’ or ‘outpatient’ lab tests are ordered by doctors and nurse practitioners and include everything from blood sugar to kidney function to pregnancy tests. Across Canada, there are many different models for delivering these tests, involving public and for-profit providers.

In Ontario, a set number of government dollars is divided among seven companies. (The Ministry of Health hasn’t licensed a new private outpatient lab provider since the 1970s.) The government pays each company per test but decides the maximum amount of money each corporation can receive in a year. This cap is based on the company’s market share in 1996. We spoke to four laboratory executives and all said they always exceed their cap. >>Read the article at HealthyDebate.ca

FACT SHEET: Bad Labs in Ontario – Waiting Too Long

Bad Labs Study

Preliminary results show 8 of the 55 GTA official lab centres inspected in October, 2013 are providing substandard treatment to visiting patients, or 1 in 7.
  • Waits at these centres are 1.5 to 2 hrs, 3 to 4 times the maximum justifiable 30 minute wait- plus-test time
  • Overcrowding means lineups spill into hallways or even out of doors
  • Consistent understaffing compounds wait and turnaround times
  • 3 other centres had other extraordinary issues, such as no disability access

Download the PDF of the report here.

Public Brief on the proposed Mega Lab to Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Position

The proposed takeover of CML by LifeLabs to create a giant corporate Mega Lab should be rejected by the Ontario government as contrary to the public interest for its potential negative impacts on patients and on sustainable healthcare. Significant concerns of access, quality, and value for laboratory tests need to be addressed by good health policy, and not left to private stock market transactions. At minimum, public hearings must be held to understand the impacts of the proposed take-over. We are asking the Minister, who has broad powers to decide license ownership, terms and conditions, including market share, “in the public interest” to take the time to consider the prospects for:

  • longer waits and greater distances for patients
  • lost opportunity to get appropriate testing, quality and cost benefits from managed fair competition
  • Inefficiencies and inconvenience for doctors and other health providers
  • Excess control and public trust vested in a very large unaccountable private sector entity
  • Higher prices and/or lower services from the high costs and loss of diverse industry activity and insight
  • Negative impact on the government’s stated intentions for laboratory reform and wider health sector reform

Read more Public Brief on the proposed Mega Lab to Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Coalition Calls for Reform to Eliminate ‘Bad Labs’ in Ontario

For immediate release
October 28, 2013

(Queen’s Park, Toronto) Ontarians now have an uneven patchwork of access then it comes to vital community medical lab testing, depending on what neighbourhood or community they live in, says a preliminary report by the Ontario Coalition for Lab Reform (OCLR) released at Queen’s Park today.

“Some people are being forced to wait for two hours or more to get this simple procedure, while others are able to get it done in only 15 minutes” said Coalition Spokesperson Gerard Kennedy, also the CEO of Alpha Laboratories. “There is no acceptable reason why there should be lineups like this – neither the people affected or the government should stand for some labs making more money at their expense.”

The Coalition estimates more than at least 1 in 7 community patients are stuck with a ‘bad lab’, which province-wide would mean over 1 million Ontarians each year, while 180,000 fled bad labs without getting tested due to overly long wait times. Read more Coalition Calls for Reform to Eliminate ‘Bad Labs’ in Ontario

Competition Bureau Helpless to Stop Highest Concentration of Private Community Medical Lab Service in North America

For Immediate Release
August 26, 2013

(Toronto) The federal Competition Bureau’s decision not to stop a takeover that would give Ontario the highest private concentration of community medical lab services in North America puts more pressure on the provincial government to act, said Gerard Kennedy, spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition for Lab Reform (OCLR).

The Coalition was reacting today to the recent Competition Bureau’s provision of a no­-action letter for the proposed $1.2 billion takeover of CML by Lifelabs to create a giant ‘Mega­Lab’ controlling testing for an unprecedented 2 out of 3 Ontarian’s outside hospitals.   While the Bureau does not release its reasons, “it became clear to members of the Coalition that the mega–lab benefited generously from the ‘regulated conduct defense’ or ‘the government-­made­-me-­do-­it’ clause limiting the Bureau’s authority,” Kennedy adds.

A peculiar, 15 year old Ontario regulation gives away locked­-in market shares to large private lab companies in Ontario without assurances on performance. The regulation was originally condemned by the Competition Bureau, for reasons now fully realized: access has suffered (closure of over 100 patient lab service centres); laboratories have been consolidated (from 27 to 9); and excessive profits generated for large private corporations from public funds (as high as 40%). The OCLR contends a Mega­-Lab would only worsen these trends. Read more Competition Bureau Helpless to Stop Highest Concentration of Private Community Medical Lab Service in North America

Mega-lab merger would hurt patients, taxpayers, says Gerard Kennedy – The Star

A coalition of small medical laboratories is trying to block the creation of a “mega-lab,” warning it would be a bad deal for patients and taxpayers

A coalition of small medical laboratories, led by former Liberal leadership contender Gerard Kennedy, is trying block the creation of a “mega-lab” in Ontario, warning it would be a bad deal for patients and taxpayers.

The group wants the province to reject a proposed $1.2-billion takeover of CML Healthcare by LifeLabs, a deal it warns would turn what are already two of the largest labs in Ontario into a virtual monopoly.

“It would shortchange taxpayers” and be harmful to health care, said Kennedy. In February, the former MP and MPP became CEO of Alpha Healthcare/Alpha Laboratories, one of the members of the coalition.

Read the full article on TheStar.com

ONTARIO COALITION FOR LAB REFORM OPPOSES MEGA-LAB DEAL

For Immediate Release

(Toronto, ON – July 15, 2013) The proposed $1.2 billion takeover by LifeLabs of CML will turn Ontario’s two largest medical laboratory companies into a controlling “mega-lab” harmful to healthcare and should be blocked in the public interest, a new Coalition of concerned organizations told the Ontario government today.

“Too many of our sick and seniors already have to go too far or wait far too long for lab services like blood tests,” said Gerard Kennedy, spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition for Lab Reform (OCLR) and CEO of Alpha Healthcare/Alpha Laboratories, Ontario’s 4th largest community medical laboratory. “Ontarian’s need to know that the Mega-Lab will further dilute the quality and availability of their test services.”

“It is no coincidence that this deal comes now just when the government was in the midst of addressing the situation,” Kennedy added, referring to a months-long government lab system reform process. “This is a bold attempt to pre-empt government’s decision making, and a grab for big corporate control over the most common medical procedure for Ontarian’s.” Read more ONTARIO COALITION FOR LAB REFORM OPPOSES MEGA-LAB DEAL