Alberta Health Services

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Alberta Health Services
Health Care
Industry Health care
Founded May 2008
Founder Government of Alberta
Headquarters Edmonton, Alberta
Area served
Key people
Minister of Health
Health Board
President & CEO
Number of employees
117,000 (2012)

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is the single health authority for the Canadian province of Alberta.

Alberta Health Services delivers medical care on behalf of the Government of Alberta's Ministry of Health[1] through 400 facilities throughout the province, including hospitals, clinics, continuing care facilities, mental health facilities and community health sites, while providing a variety of programs and services.

AHS is the largest single health authority in Canada and is the largest employer in the province of Alberta as well as being the 5th largest single employer in Canada.

Alberta Health Services is headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta.


Alberta Health Services was created as a "superboard"[2] in May 2008 with the controversial abolition of the following regional health authorities:

  • Aspen Health Region
  • Calgary Health Region
  • Capital Health Region
  • Chinook Health Region
  • David Thompson Health Region
  • East Central Health Region
  • Northern Lights Health Region
  • Palliser Health Region
  • Peace Country Health Region

as well as the following agencies:

  • Alberta Mental Health Board
  • Alberta Cancer Board
  • Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission[3][4]

Health services in Alberta have undergone several governance reorganization attempts in recent decades, with successively fewer separate public organizational entities.[5][6][7][8]

Mission and organization[edit]

Alberta Health Services has articulated three broad goals (access, quality and sustainability) which expand into eight 'areas of focus' (e.g. improving access, fit for the future, learning and improving) and 20 strategic priorities.[9]

Alberta Health Services has been organized so as to separate acute hospital facilities (with separate reporting lines for major tertiary, metropolitan and regional hospitals) from smaller hospitals and community services, the latter of which are organized into five zones (North, Edmonton, Central, Calgary and South). The Calgary Zone, for example, includes some sites and services formerly administered by the Calgary Health Region while other services have been reorganized on a provincial scale.[10]


Edmonton-based Dr. Stephen Duckett[11] was the inaugural President and Chief Executive Officer of Alberta Health Services, taking up the role on 23 March 2009. He was replaced on 23 November 2010 by Dr. Chris Eagle who resigned on 17 October 2013.[12] The organization was previously overseen by a Board of Directors, on June 12, 2013, an Official Administrator, Janet Davidson,[13] for Alberta Health Services was appointed by the Minister of Health Fred Horne, to act in place of its Board of Directors.[14] On September 12, 2013, Dr. John W. F. Cowell replaced Davidson as the Official Administrator.[15]

AHS interm President and CEO Verna Yiu [1], commencing Dec 2015.


Alberta Health Services employs 104,000 staff (of which 8,400 physicians),[16] including clinical, administrative and support personnel across the province. Staff belong to a variety of professional organizations and associations, including United Nurses of Alberta,[17] several locals of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees,[18] and the Health Sciences Association of Alberta.[19]


AHS maintains and runs a number of different types of facilities.[20] These include:

  • Cancer Care
    • For the prevention, detection, treatment, education and care of cancer patients, as well as to facilitate research of cancer.
  • Continuing and Long-Term Care
    • For the treatment of patients with complex health needs requiring 24-hour on-site services from registered nurses.
  • Emergency
    • For immediate care of patients with all types of conditions.
  • Hospitals
    • For medical, surgical, or psychiatric care of the sick and injured.
  • Labs
    • For the processing of medical samples and tests.
  • Mental Health & Addictions
    • For treatment and care of patients diagnosed with mental health or addiction issues.
  • Other
    • A wider array of miscellaneous health facilities include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, home care, hemodialysis and others, and also include Public Health Centres which provide services such as prenatal, postpartum, health promotion/disease and injury prevention, bereavement services, communicable disease and school health. They also fund affordable housing for seniors at facilities, such as Silvera for Seniors.
  • Urgent Care
    • To treat patients with unexpected but not life-threatening issues requiring same day treatment.
  • X-Ray & Imaging Clinics
    • For procedures such as MRIs, X-Rays and other types of scans.

South Zone[edit]

The south zone includes major centres such as Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Serving approximately 300,000 Albertan's. A large network of hospitals are maintained in the outlying communities of Alberta. South Zone includes[21]

Calgary Zone[edit]

The Calgary Zone administrative offices are located in the Southland Park business complex. Calgary Zone comprises territory formerly administered by the former Calgary Health Region and includes five major acute care sites (hospitals) including Foothills Medical Centre, Peter Lougheed Centre, Rockyview General Hospital, South Health Campus, and Alberta Children's Hospital. Serving approximately 1,400,000 Albertan's. A large network of hospitals are maintained in the outlying communities of Alberta. Calgary Zone includes[22]

Central Zone[edit]

The central zone includes major centres such as Red Deer. Serving approximately 450,000 Albertan's. A large network of hospitals are maintained in the outlying communities of Alberta. Central Zone includes[23]

  • Castor - Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital (Castor)
  • Consort Hospital and Care Centre (Consort)
  • Coronation Hospital and Care Centre (Coronation)

Edmonton Zone[edit]

The Edmonton Zone administrative offices are located in Seventh Street Plaza. Edmonton Zone comprises territory formerly administered by the Capital Health Region and includes eight acute care sites (hospitals) in the metropolitan area, which include: University of Alberta Hospital (Edmonton), Royal Alexandra Hospital (Edmonton), Grey Nuns Hospital (Edmonton), Misericordia Community Hospital (Edmonton), Sturgeon Community Hospital (St. Albert), Leduc Community Hospital (Leduc), WestView Health Centre (Stony Plain), and Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital (Fort Saskatchewan). Serving approximately 1.2 million Albertans. A large network of hospitals are maintained in the outlying communities of Alberta. Edmonton Zone includes[24]

North Zone[edit]

The north zone includes major centres such as Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray. Serving approximately 450,000 Albertan's. A large network of hospitals are maintained in the outlying communities of Alberta. North Zone includes[25]

Rural Zone[edit]

A large network of hospitals are maintained in the outlying communities of Alberta. They include[26]

Emergency medical services[edit]

In addition to primary in patient care, Alberta Health Services took over responsibility for all emergency medical services (EMS) from municipalities on April 1, 2009, making ground ambulances a responsibility of the provincial government.[27]

Provincial air ambulance transitioned to AHS in April 2010.[28] Also included in the provincial model of EMS are inter-facility hospital transfers, and EMS dispatch. In total, EMS serves the provincial population of 4 million over an area of 661,848 square kilometres.

In 2013, EMS averaged about 370,000 ambulance responses annually,[29] with approximately 30% of these being patient transfers between health care facilities, and 70% being emergency responses.

EMS is provided by the provincial government through a hybrid of direct delivery and contracted services. In 2013 this hybrid consisted of 204 ground ambulance locations. Practitioners include approximately 3,000 paramedics, emergency medical technicians and emergency medical responders.

There are 550 ambulances throughout the province, including 278 owned and operated by AHS.

AHS contracts 12 fixed-wing aircraft to provide 24-hour air ambulance services throughout the province. 5,500 patients were transferred by fixed-wing aircraft via contracted air ambulance providers in Alberta in 2010.

The Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) air ambulance flew approximately 1,933 missions in 2012. Since 1985, more than 24,000 missions have been carried out.[30]


  1. ^ "Alberta Health". Alberta Health. Government of Alberta. 
  2. ^ Tories create health superboard.
  3. ^ Liepert, R. (2009). Provincial health structure: Alberta Health Innovation Report Fall, pp. 12–13 also at
  4. ^ Philippon, D (2009). Health care system reorganization: expectations, approaches and impact Health Innovation Report Fall, pp. 44–49
  5. ^ Philippon, D. J. and S. A. Wasylyshyn (1996). Health-care reform in Alberta. Canadian Public Administration 39(1): 70-84.
  6. ^ Reay, T. and C. R. Hinings (2005). The Recomposition of an Organizational Field: Health Care in Alberta. Organization Studies 26(3): 351-384.
  7. ^ Hinings, C. R., A. Casebeer, et al. (2003). Regionalizing Healthcare in Alberta: Legislated Change, Uncertainty and Loose Coupling British Journal of Management 14:S1(December): S15-S30.
  8. ^ Casebeer, A., T. Reay, et al. (2006). Experiences of Regionalization: Assessing Multiple Stakeholder Perspectives across Time. Healthcare Quarterly 9(2): 32-43.
  9. ^ strategic direction
  10. ^ formal structure
  11. ^ Dr. Stephen Duckett's biography
  12. ^ "Dr. Chris Eagle steps down as AHS CEO"
  13. ^ "Appointment details, AHS Administrator Janet M. Davidson"
  14. ^ "AHS Role of the Administrator"
  15. ^ "Statement from Health Minister Fred Horne on the appointment of Dr. Cowell"
  16. ^
  17. ^ UNA "about" page
  18. ^ AUPE "about" web page
  19. ^ HSAA "about" page
  20. ^ AHS facilities website
  21. ^ AHS hospital list
  22. ^ AHS hospital list
  23. ^ AHS hospital list
  24. ^ AHS hospital list
  25. ^ AHS hospital list
  26. ^ AHS hospital list
  27. ^ AHS backgrounder
  28. ^ EMS Transition
  29. ^ Ground and air ambulance services
  30. ^ STARS Alberta

External links[edit]