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Vogelzang must step down from board position after news of alleged illegal donations: Forsyth

CALGARY, AB (July 24, 2014): To protect the integrity of the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA), John Vogelzang needs to step down from his board position after news of his alleged illegal donations made to the governing PC party, Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said today.

After appeals from Vogelzang for over two years, Alberta Health Services released the expenses of the former chief executive officer at the David Thompson Health Region to the CBC, showing $2,875 of public health dollars expensed for PC fundraisers.

Vogelzang, who received a payout of nearly $894,000 in severance after leaving the David Thompson Health Region, was directly appointed to the HQCA in December 2013 by Health Minister Fred Horne.

“The core function of the HQCA is to oversee and question the performance of the health care system, but having a board member directly tied to the governing PCs through alleged illegal donations directly compromises the work of the entire organization,” Forsyth said. “Vogelzang either needs to step down or the Health Minister needs to start taking responsibility for yet another abuse by a senior official in our health care system.”

Vogelzang only repaid the $2,875 in November 2012, after political pressure from a freedom of information request sent by the CBC. Overall, his expenses included big ticket suppers and $500 golf games.

Forsyth said there are still executives fighting off FOIP requests such as these and Albertans are demanding accountability from the PC government about the history of abuse of taxpayer dollars in the health care system.

“Quite frankly, patients, front-line health care workers and ordinary Albertans are sick and tired of hearing once again about how another senior health official mishandled precious resources meant to go towards improving patient care,” Forsyth said.  “We need accountability and transparency from this government so we can work to restore Albertans trust in their health care system.”