Health Minister Terry Lake today introduced Bill 7, the Laboratory Services Act, which sets a framework to strengthen and standardize B.C.'s clinical laboratory system.
"Laboratory medicine is advancing rapidly," said Lake. "This legislation allows the provincial government to streamline and integrate the system to take advantage of emerging and improving medical technologies, which will help us keep lab services sustainable and cost-effective."
The act enables government to strengthen patient services and ensure that resources are deployed efficiently and where they're most needed.
This legislation provides authority for the Province to better co-ordinate in-patient and out-patient clinical laboratory systems provincewide and enables British Columbia to enter into agreements with service providers to provide greater certainty regarding costs.
Under the legislation, the minister of health will be responsible for governance and accountability, audit, provision of benefits and compensation for all laboratory services in the province.
The introduction of this legislation is the first phase and paves the way for future reforms to strengthen the system and improve patient care. The ministry plans to consult with stakeholders as it implements the legislation over the next three years.
This legislation builds on the consolidation of lab services in the Lower Mainland, which has been underway since 2009 and produced enhanced quality, reduced costs and annual savings of approximately $5 million.
There are 125 laboratories in B.C. that provide laboratory medicine services in all regions of the province - in hospital and community settings - that will transition under this new legislation.
The facilities include all public and community based laboratories that are approved to provide laboratory services under the Medical Services Plan, and those laboratories that are funded by the health authorities.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)