February 12, 2013
AG report shows AHS expenses gone wild, need for accountability on fiscal updates
EDMONTON, AB (February 12, 2013): Alberta Health Services (AHS) expense accounts continue to be exposed as a raw deal for Alberta taxpayers , while the PC government needs to be held accountable for avoiding the spirit of the law for their fiscal updates, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
The Report of the Auditor General released today shows that in the $100 million dollars of expenses listed in the 17 months examined by the AG that AHS does not require business reason for expenses for purchasing card transactions and there is little accountability within AHS to ensure expenses remain cost effective. “We’ve known for a long time that expenses within AHS have been inappropriate and need to be fixed. That’s why we’ve called for the expenses of all executives, of all the health regions dating back to 2008 to released by the government,” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said. “These inappropriate expenses need to be exposed, eradicated and fixed so limited health dollars can flow to patients and not government expense accounts.” The report also shows that AHS employees are allowed to buy “unusual items” such as toys or videogames with purchasing cards. Among the expense claims listed, roughly $2 million, or 2 per cent, included alcohol purchases that were not pre-approved, while $1 million was expensed by the board and senior executives. “The sense of entitlement within AHS and this PC government is shocking,” Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said. “There needs to be accountability from AHS bureaucrats to patients and front-line workers who hold the entire health care system together.” With the AG failing to make a decisive ruling on the legality of the province’s most recent fiscal updates, Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said it’s clear that the spirit of the law was not intended to allow the government to hide key budget details from the public. “This government’s wasteful spending, mismanagement and inability to prioritize has led to six straight deficit budgets. Albertans deserve to know the full fiscal picture every quarter,” Anderson said. “We know that this government’s first instinct is to evade public scrutiny and accountability, but now that they’re floating increasing Albertans’ taxes and taking on debt, full budget transparency is more important than ever.”