Alberta Health Services: Interview on Disability Management

Topics: Alberta, Health regions of Canada, Alberta Health Services Pages: 7 (2192 words) Published: November 28, 2010
Alberta Health Services (AHS) is involved with coordinating the delivery of health supports and services across the province. Their sole mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans. Alberta Health Services has implemented an Ability Management program which is a coordinated and cooperative effort to assist employees who are unable to work due to injury, illness or disability. The Ability Management Program addresses early intervention, active case management and the creation of opportunities for early safe return to work. Ability Management Program uses modified work, transitional work, rehabilitation strategies, medical duty to accommodate and follow-up to ensure that Alberta Health Services employees either remain at work or quickly return to a safe, productive and meaningful work that they feel comfortable doing.

Alberta Health Services provides health care services to the public on a provincial level. This organization brings together 12 formerly separate health entities in the province: nine geographically based health authorities (Chinook Health, Palliser Health Region, Calgary Health Region, David Thompson Health Region, East Central Health, Capital Health, Aspen Regional Health, Peace Country Health and Northern Lights Health Region) and three provincial entities working specifically in the areas of mental health (Alberta Mental Health Board), addictions (Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission) and cancer (Alberta Cancer Board). The size of the workforce consists of 84,269 plus or minus employees. Consequently, the type of work done by Alberta Health Services employees range from taking diverse responsibilities such as clinical (doctors, nurses, rehabilitation), Information Systems, facility, Workplace/Occupational Health & Safety, Human Resource Services, Emergency Medical Services and many more operational services to provide the optimum patient care for all Albertans. The average age of the employee at Alberta Health Services is approximately 41.8 years. Statistically the ratios of men being 14% in comparison with 86% being women are employed by Alberta Health Services.

Leah Runge an Ability Management Consultant for Alberta Health Services deals directly with issues regarding occupational and non-occupational illness or injury. Leah takes on diverse and cognizant roles such as being a contact person for all stakeholders, an active supporter of the injured or ill worker and their family members, and an active catalyst for facilitating the return to work of that disabled employee. As indicated by Leah, her responsibility is to act as a confidential liaison with all the stakeholders (between the employee, their manager, workplace supervisors, co-workers, and union members), insurance companies (third-party insurers) to assist and act as a catalyst for facilitating the reintegration of the disabled employee back into the safe workplace. She works closely with the injured or ill worker to develop a safe return to work plan implemented by the Alberta Health Services. Moreover, Leah stated that she has a primary obligation to keep things confidential and to safeguard information about individuals obtained in the course of disability management practice information and records and also information pertaining to an employee’s personal health. Consequently, Leah provides assurances of professional ethical responsibility to all parties involved in the Alberta Health Services disability plan. Leah consistently displays her ethical nature in making judgments and decisions regarding the disability claims she deals with on a daily basis. Leah arranges for workplace modifications or job restructuring for the disabled employee to smoothly transition the individual to a newly developed modified job where tasks are changed in order to coherently match the abilities the employee displays.

The roles and responsibilities of other...
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