New Alberta Health Services administrator vows to work ‘morning, noon and night’

EDMONTON – Alberta’s health system needs to better measure its efficiency and effectiveness as the government works toward establishing a new Alberta Health Services board, says provincial Health Minister Stephen Mandel.

That’s why the government hired University of Alberta provost Carl Amrhein as AHS’s official administrator, Mandel told a news conference Wednesday.

“(Carl) Amrhein is imminently qualified to look at those things,� said Mandel, citing issues such as emergency wait times and number of surgeries that need better measurement.

“He will work with his great experience to create the opportunity for a proper governance model over the next little while for Alberta Health Services … It’s a complicated issue. It’s a very big organization. We don’t want the same things to happen that happened in the past.â€�

Amrhein started the job Monday and is expected to hold the position until the end of June 2015.

The official administrator role was created last year, after then health minister Fred Horne fired the AHS board when it refused to follow his directive to cancel bonus payments for senior health executives. Horne later acknowledged the board had no legal power to rescind the bonuses.

The board wasn’t reinstated, however.

Amrhein replaces Janet Davidson as official administrator, and Davidson returns to her role as deputy health minister.

The government would like to see an AHS board back in place sometime over the next seven months, while Amrhein holds the administrator position, Mandel said.

“The premier has said we need a board, but I want to make sure what that looks like is what we need it to look like.�

Amrhein said Wednesday he is eager to help develop a governance model for Alberta’s health-care system that meets the needs of all Albertans.

“It’s a thrill and an honour for me to have this opportunity,� Amrhein said during the news conference.

“I look forward to working full time, morning, noon and night and weekends, between now and June to make sure we get everything done that we can possibly do.�

asands@edmontonjournal.com

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