Victoria, BC – British Columbia’s clinical laboratory system will be strengthened and standardized with a new bill introduced last week in the BC legislature.
“Laboratory medicine is advancing rapidly,” said Terry Lake, the province’s minister of health. “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 – Bill 7, the Laboratory Services Act – sets a framework to allow the province to better co-ordinate its clinical laboratory systems and enables it to enter into agreements with service providers to provide greater certainty regarding costs.
The government says the introduction of this legislation is the first phase and paves the way for future reforms to strengthen the system. The ministry plans to consult with stakeholders as it implements the legislation over the next three years. It also builds on the consolidation of lab services in the Lower Mainland, which has been underway since 2009 and has produced 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 the 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.