October 07, 2014

AG Report is more of the same: A broken long-term care system and more sweetheart deals for insiders

EDMONTON, AB (October 7, 2014): Today’s Auditor General report is just more of the same from a broken and tired government: more details of a broken long-term care system, more waste and mismanagement with AHS perks and pay and more sweetheart sole-sourced deals for PC insiders, Wildrose Human Services and Seniors Critic Kerry Towle said today.

In his report on the $910 million long-term care system, the Auditor General described a system where the PC government is creating significant overlap and confusion in monitoring and inspecting the quality of care delivered in our long-term care facilities and outlines a pattern of secrecy within AHS that fails to publicly report on the performance of the provincial long-term care system.

Further, the report shows there is evidence AHS is not properly monitoring whether or not facilities are implementing individual resident care plans or meeting their basic needs.

With an acute care system already hanging on the edge of a cliff, Towle said today’s AG report continues to highlight a mismanaged long-term care system.

“We have a crisis in our acute care system, patients are desperately waiting to get access to long-term care beds, while our entire system is failing to properly monitor the quality of care being delivered,” Towle said. “It’s too bad that instead of moving quickly to address the problems facing our health care system, the Premier and his Health Minister are too busy conducting reviews and worrying about getting elected.”

Paul Parks, a spokesman for the province’s emergency room doctors, said there has been a 100-per-cent increase in the number of days when an emergency-room bed is taken by a senior waiting for space in a long-term care facility. In 2005, there were 113,000 of these days, in 2013 there were a shocking 267,000 days.

The AG also found that AHS didn’t follow proper protocols for hiring or firing executives in at least three instances.  In one instance, AHS paid out more in severance for an executive who was terminated before he had even signed a contract with the health authority.

“Quite frankly, Albertans are tired of hearing yet another story about this stunning level of mismanagement and waste among AHS, essentially diverting precious health care dollars away from the front-lines,” Towle said.

While Albertans were recovering from the impact of the devastating floods in 2013, the PC government handed out two sole-source contracts for $315,000 for communications consulting and focus groups to Navigator Ltd., a group with direct ties to current Premier Jim Prentice.

“This is direct evidence that those in charge sought to give these high-level contracts to a group tied at the hip with the PC party and Mr. Prentice without ever having to justify the work they were doing,” Towle said.  “Clearly, this is just the latest example of a PC government putting the interests of its friends above the interests of taxpayers.” 


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