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Expenses Audit

Expenses Audit

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Published by: Edmontonsun Onlineeditor on Oct 04, 2012
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05/13/2014

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Media Statement
 
Follow AHS_Media on Twitter 
September 13, 2012
Board Chair Stephen Lockwood addresses executiveexpenses
GRANDE PRAIRIE – There has been a great deal of rumour and speculation in recent weeksabout what is and is not being reviewed with respect to executive expenses. After discussionswith our Board yesterday and earlier today I would like to now clear the air.First, as requested by Health Minister Fred Horne, an external audit firm has been contracted by Alberta Health Services to conduct an independent audit of executive travel expenses andrelated expense for the years 2005 through 2008, claimed by Mr. Merali, a former CFO of Capital Health.The audit will determine if those expenses were in compliance with the policies of Capital Healthin place at the time. Minister Horne has requested the report be made public when it iscomplete, and it will be.Second, we have received a number of requests for information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and we will make that information publicly available ascontemplated by the Act, and within the timelines required under the Act.This information will be made available on AHS' website.Third, our CEO Dr. Chris Eagle, and our executives currently serving at Alberta Health Serviceswho report to Dr. Eagle, and who were employed in the former Calgary Health Region, haverequested, and the Board has agreed to, an internal audit of their expenses from 2005 through2008.That is the same timeframe as the independent audit. They have asked that the report be madepublic. The Board accepted and welcomes that request. The audit will answer the question,were their expenses within policy?In their words, our Executive leaders have told us they want to live up to the AHS value of transparency, and to assure patients and staff of AHS that our leadership's integrity – and inturn the integrity of AHS – is not in question.This is extremely important to our leaders, to me personally, and to our Board. Speculation andinnuendo is unfair, we believe it is unwarranted, and it is undermining confidence in our healthsystem. The records will be reviewed and the report publicly released.Our leaders have the Board’s unqualified support and we recognize and respect their concerns.. . . /2
 
 
Media Statement
 
Follow AHS_Media on Twitter 
Fourth, beyond the actions I have described, Alberta Health Services does not contemplatehiring auditors to expand or extend reviews into other former Regions or other health entities. Inlight of rapidly rising costs, we are not prepared at this time to expand the scope of this work or leave it open-ended.Let me put this into perspective. For the current external audit, and the first few weeks of responding to the numerous FOIPP requests alone, we have spent over $200,000 and thatfigure is climbing. (To put that in context, that’s equivalent to 14 hip surgeries.)The final cost will exceed that amount and those dollars will be lost to health care forever.We will, of course, respond to all requests under FOIPP. But we will not redirect health dollars toreviewing any further expense claims in organizations that no longer exist.The question is this: What is most important to Albertans? In my opinion, it is to use taxpayers’health dollars to improve health care today.There is no benefit to health care today in expanding the assessment of policies that are nolonger applicable. There is no action we can take to recover those expenses.For that reason, when the records that have been requested are released in accordance withthe Act, we will not be commenting.We can and will, however, talk about what our Board is doing with respect to Alberta HealthServices here and now, which
is
our responsibility.We can, and have, taken action. Which brings us to today’s Board meeting.Effective today, we have adopted the province’s new travel and expense policy. We will begincommunicating with our staff and physicians today, the first stage in our adoption of anexpanded expense policy at Alberta Health Services. AHS executive expenses will be posted online monthly, again using the new travel and expenseprotocols announced by Premier Redford last week.We will post all expense records for Board members, Executive members, and the direct reportsto Executives.The Board will annually review and publish the total expenses of executives as part of its annualreview of financial statements. And we will build into the current expense reporting process a series of thresholds thatautomatically trigger reviews.. . . /3

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