EDMONTON, AB (February 14, 2013): The recent scandal uncovered by Alberta’s Auditor General showing a quarter of AHS employees (26,000) billed taxpayers over $100 million dollars in a 17 month period is evidence of an ongoing culture of entitlement that is embedded among executives in Alberta’s health system.
Though the government insists that they are now introducing solutions to the expenses controversy, the truth is this has been a long-standing issue that has remained unchanged for the past several years.Here are the facts:
- In 2008 the Auditor General called on all Health regions to, “strengthen and follow its policies and processes for employee expense claims and corporate credit cards. We also recommend that Alberta Health Services develop and implement policies and guidance on appropriate expenses for hosting and working services (Page 311).
- Many of the same health executives in charge of the various health regions remain in senior positions within AHS today. The former Chair, Ken Hughes, is now a member of the PC Cabinet.
- October 2012, the Auditor General once again identified that the 2008 recommendation remains outstanding.
“This has been a long standing practice within our Alberta health system, but instead of this government seriously addressing the issue, they have allowed the culture of entitlement to go unchecked,” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said. “It’s time for the Health Minister and AHS Chair to take meaningful action against those responsible.” Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said there are serious issues to address like justifying $900,000 credit cards and with the same leadership in place today from five years ago, it’s hard to believe real change can occur. “One in four employees submitting expenses within AHS is excessive, wrong and ties up funding from going to the front lines,” Forsyth said. “No other corporation would tolerate such waste, Albertans deserve better and it’s time for this government to finally show some leadership.”