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Wildrose forces changes at Alberta Health Services

CALGARY, AB (February 5, 2015): The Wildrose continues to build on its legacy of protecting taxpayers from the PC government and Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) record of waste and mismanagement after the head of AHS today admitted changes to policy came as a direct result of Wildrose freedom of information (FOIP) requests, Wildrose Leader Heather Forsyth said today.

On the heels of FOIP requests, CEO Vicki Kaminski disclosed AHS spent $28 million on severances over the span of three years. Kaminski admitted that the information was released after it was compiled to comply with a Wildrose FOIP request. As a result, AHS committed to creating a new policy to limit severance payouts going forward.

“The Wildrose is fiercely committed to protecting taxpayers and we are glad today to finally see some concessions from AHS,” Forsyth said.  “These new policies should have been put in place years ago, and we are still looking for more improvements.  It’s unfortunate the PC government just last month rejected Wildrose proposals that would completely stop to these eye-popping severances across all levels of government.”

Kaminski said hundreds of mobile devices at AHS racked up bills of more than $500 per month as a result of poor policy and no oversight. The total cost to taxpayers for these unnecessary charges was over $825,000 in just 18 months. This information was disclosed as a result of another Wildrose FOIP request.                                       

“Today’s policy decisions at AHS show more than ever the need for an effective Wildrose Opposition,” Forsyth said.

While re-implementing performance benchmarks at Alberta’s largest 15 hospitals is a positive step, Forsyth said spending $90,000 on more high-level consultants is a step back.

“AHS had strong performance benchmarks for years. The problem was never with the benchmarks themselves, but instead the problem was AHS’ ability to meet them,” Forsyth said.  “Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars more to revamp these measures, AHS should just re-implement the old performance measurements they had in place, and work hard to start actually reaching these goals.”