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RCO





Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 1:53 pm    Post subject: eHealth making critics sick Reply with quote

eHealth making critics sick

Opposition wants 'walking papers' issued to minister, CEO over questionable expenditures

By ANTONELLA ARTUSO, QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU CHIEF

The Toronto Sun

TORONTO -- eNough, government critics say.

Opposition parties at Queen's Park are calling for heads to roll after the newest revelations of eye-popping expenditures at eHealth Ontario -- the taxpayer-funded agency established to produce electronic medical records for every citizen in the province.

One consultant with a four-month contract worth $210,600 billed taxpayers for items as small as her $1.57 Tim Hortons tea, her BBQ chicken sub, a $2.98 soup, and her muffins and pops, as well as travel to and from Alberta, and a $2,820-a-month apartment in Toronto.

Even Premier Dalton McGuinty is struggling to understand the spending and has said that he welcomes the results of an ongoing investigation of the agency by the auditor general.

'DO NOT SIT EASY'

"I know that there are some facts that have been brought to the floor which do not sit easy with us in government as they do not with my colleagues opposite," McGuinty said in the Legislature yesterday.

"I understand that the auditor is looking at this ... If he wanted to come out with recommendations sooner rather than later, we would welcome those as well."

Freedom of Information documents obtained by the Progressive Conservatives have revealed that eHealth Ontario CEO Sarah Kramer approved nearly $5 million in contracts that weren't put out for a competitive bid.

Sun Media has learned that one consultant charged taxpayers $300 an hour to consult with her husband -- who also had a consulting contract with eHealth Ontario.

Taxpayers paid $7,000 to a consultant to write Kramer's speech to Health Active 2008, and hundreds of dollars more to update her biography.

Even the official spokesman for eHealth was a consultant who charged $1,600 a day to provide communications advice and talk to media, billing $33,200 for 20.75 days work in March alone.

Questions were also raised in the legislature about consultants who billed the Ontario taxpayer to read The New York Times, talk on the subway and watch TV.

On top of that, Kramer received a $114,000 bonus within months of beginning her $380,000-a-year position.

eHealth Ontario and its predecessor agency have spent $146 million on consultants since 2003, despite commitments to reign in billings for outside expertise, and overall agency spending has ballooned to $839 million.

Other provinces are ahead of Ontario in producing records although so far they have spent less money.

INITIATIVES LAGGING

Health Minister David Caplan said the province's eHealth initiatives are lagging behind other provinces, and urgency was required to get the process more quickly underway, so contracts were signed without tendering.

"Ontario, I say quite candidly, should be further ahead," Caplan said.

Kramer said in a televised interview that taxpayers got value for their money from the contracts.

PC Leader Bob Runciman said eHealth could have sought approval for a short tendering period instead of using urgency as an excuse for handing out million-dollar contracts without competition.

During Question Period, Runciman called on the premier to give Kramer and Caplan their "walking papers."

NDP MPP France Gelinas also called for heads to roll, saying eHealth Ontario and its predecessor agency have produced next to nothing for more than three-quarters of a billion dollars.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Po.....1-sun.html
Cool Blue





Joined: 21 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't understand what the problem is with e-records. We've been trying to do this since Mike Harris was around!

Why can the USA have e-records but we don't?!

In the US Google even offers an electronic health records service where you can check out your own info online at home!
Take2





Joined: 07 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adscam II.

The Ontario liberals must have been following the Quebec wing of their federal playbook.

http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/.....ub=Toronto
Louise M.





Joined: 30 Jul 2007
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Location: Ottawa

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope the Liberals were stupid enough to give Kramer a severance package. In their haste to find a scapegoat, I bet they did.
Mac





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
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Location: John Baird's riding...

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take2 wrote:
Adscam II.

All that is missing is the kick-backs... and, of course, Chretien's balls.... :lol:

-Mac
Louise M.





Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 243
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Location: Ottawa

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly as I suspected.

Quote:
The embattled CEO of eHealth Ontario Sarah Kramer will receive nearly $317,000 in compensation after leaving the crown organization.
---
Caplan defended the compensation package Sunday as a necessary step to avoid any legal entanglements.

When former Hydro One CEO Eleanor Clitheroe was fired in 2002 amid allegations of lavish spending, she launched a $30-million lawsuit against the province, he pointed out.

http://www.thestar.com/article/646979

How could you expect to be paid severance when you're fired? Federal workers who get sacked get zip and I suspect the same applies to provincial workers.
cosmostein





Joined: 04 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the Progressive Conservatives were in office,
This would be the lead story every day on the news at six.

However I feel that in a months time, the people will be fired and the Liberals will be praised for "cleaning house"
RCO





Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Louise M. wrote:
I hope the Liberals were stupid enough to give Kramer a severance package. In their haste to find a scapegoat, I bet they did.



you can be asured they did this and if was very significant , she might be gone but she is not going to be suffering for a while .
RCO





Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kramer gets the axe at eHealth Ontario

By ANTONELLA ARTUSO AND JONATHAN JENKINS, QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU



Sarah Kramer was removed from her position as eHealth Ontario President and CEO on Sunday. (CNW/EHealth Ontario/Handout)


Minister's resignation demanded over eHealth spending scandal

eHealthy, ewealthy, but wise?



TORONTO - After just eight months on the job, Sarah Kramer has been dumped as CEO of troubled eHealth Ontario -- and with a $317,000 golden goodbye.

Kramer was ousted from the taxpayer-funded agency this weekend -- two weeks after the Sunday Sun first revealed millions of health-care dollars were flowing to consultants, and after non-stop revelations of questionable expense spending, lavish contracts and allegations of cronyism.

Health Minister David Caplan told Sun Media yesterday that the attention on eHealth spending under Kramer was distracting the organization, threatening its ability to move forward with a mandate to create electronic health records.

"The taxpayers expect to see their hard-earned money put to good use," Caplan said.

Caplan said Kramer and the eHealth board mutually agreed that it would be best if the organization proceeded under a new leader.

Kramer's contract with eHealth says if she is fired without cause or is not re-appointed, she is entitled to 15 months pay or $475,000, and could keep dental and other benefits until she finds a new position.


However, a government spokesman said Kramer will receive a negotiated severance package amounting to 10 months pay with no benefits -- $317,000 -- and she must pay some of it back if she finds another position in the near future.

Progressive Conservative Leader Bob Runciman, who led the charge in the legislature for a change of management at eHealth Ontario, said yesterday he doesn't buy the health minister's reasons for Kramer's leavetaking.

"What a crock," Runciman said. "The justification for her

departure is profligate spending under her watch."

Considering Kramer got a $114,000 bonus within months of starting at eHealth -- one she gets to keep -- it's not reasonable to give the ex-CEO additional severance, Runciman said.

"I think it would be pretty tough for taxpayers to swallow," Runciman said.

The government has been struggling to explain why eHealth Ontario has been spending on things like Tim Hortons teas, nightcaps and two-block cab rides, as well as millions of dollars in untendered contracts that saw consultants getting $2,700 a day and downtown Toronto apartments that cost about $3,000 a month.

Several consultants who had received sole-sourced contracts had worked with Kramer and eHealth Ontario Chair Dr. Alan Hudson at other health-care organizations.

Caplan has ordered eHealth to commission a third-party audit of its spending practices, and Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter will also direct his staff to go through the agency's books.

Runciman said he believes there needs to be wholesale change in the leadership of eHealth, starting at the very top with Caplan.

"It's an incestuous little group and that includes the board (of directors)," he said.

Caplan said he continues to have faith in the directors of eHealth Ontario.

"We've got quite a good board," Caplan said. "I think they take their responsibilities seriously."

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Kramer had to go, as does Caplan, who was ultimately responsible for the oversight of eHealth.

It may also be time to bring eHealth Ontario, an arms-length crown agency, back under the ministry of health, Horwath said.

---

BAD MEDICINE

The troubled past of Health Ontario:

- 2002: eHealth Ontario launched with a CEO and 166 staffers making more than $100,000 a year, and a mandate to create electronic health records

- 2003: A new CEO comes in and eHealth is renamed Smart Systems for Health Agency

- 2007: A new CEO again and promises that this time it will work

- 2008: $647 million and a damning operational review later, new CEO Sarah Kramer is brought in get things moving

- 2009: With the cost now $839 million and Kramer out, Ontario residents still have not seen any electronic health records.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Ca.....1-sun.html

( almost a billion dollars and 8 years later and still no health records it looks like ontario got a sour deal with this program )
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RCO wrote:


Kramer's contract with eHealth says if she is fired without cause or is not re-appointed, she is entitled to 15 months pay or $475,000, and could keep dental and other benefits until she finds a new position.

However, a government spokesman said Kramer will receive a negotiated severance package amounting to 10 months pay with no benefits -- $317,000 -- and she must pay some of it back if she finds another position in the near future.



Wow.
RCO





Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eHealth execs got big severance

Province paid CEO $850Gs to go away before hiring pricey exec

By JONATHAN JENKINS AND ANTONELLA ARTUSO, QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU

The Toronto Sun


TORONTO -- eHealth Ontario spent more than $1 million in severance to remove a nine-member senior executive team to clear the way for Sarah Kramer -- herself dumped at a six-figure cost last week.

Documents obtained by Sun Media detail packages handed to William Albino and Michael Rigo, let go after the Liberal government tapped Dr. Alan Hudson to lead the quest for electronic health records and to chair eHealth's board.

Then-president and CEO Albino received nearly $850,000 in severance and Rigo, a senior vice-president, left with about $235,000.

Another seven senior execs were also sent packing at the time but eHealth V-P Deanna Allen said details of their severance would only be released through a Freedom of Information request.

Albino, an experienced IT executive, was himself brought in by the Liberals to clean up eHealth's predecessor, Smart Systems for Health Agency, in February 2007, after a damning operational review, but was gone within 21 months.

Reached yesterday, Albino said he did not want to comment. It's unclear what prompted his and his team's dismissal and government press releases announcing Kramer's appointment make no mention of him.

As soon as Albino and his team departed, Kramer replaced them, largely with consultants.

Among the consultants were Courtyard Group's Michael Guerriere, his wife Miyo Yamashita from Anzen Consulting, along with Edmonton-based Donna Strating and Allaudin Merali.

Strating is the $2,800-a-day consultant who billed taxpayers for teabags and dessert squares, plus travel back and forth to Edmonton. Merali also charged $2,800 a day and racked up expenses for return trips to Edmonton, a $3,300-a-month apartment and expensive dinners.

LEAVING THIS MONTH

He has since paid back a portion of those expenses and is leaving eHealth at the end of this month when his contract expires.

Kramer, like Guerriere, Yamashita and board member Matthew Alexander, Guerriere's cousin, are all close associates of Hudson and like him, once worked at the University Health Network.

A stream of damning headlines about the consultant bills at eHealth and details of Kramer's $114,000 bonus --paid out just weeks after she told other execs their bonuses were scaled back because of the economic crisis -- led to her departure on Sunday. She will receive $317,000 in severance, plus benefits.

Yesterday, Premier Dalton McGuinty said the necessary changes at eHealth have been made and he would not accept the opposition's advice to fire both Hudson and Health Minister David Caplan.

"This is a judgement call on my part," the premier told reporters in Stratford.

"When you're in opposition, they're all hanging offences. When you're in government you actually have to exercise judgment and distinguish between different kinds of, you know, circumstances."

He said he was very proud of the work Hudson had done on the province's wait-times strategy. Caplan, too, still enjoys his confidence, he said.

"He works very hard, in a responsible manner," McGuinty said. "And in this circumstance I concluded that he did what he should have done as minister."

Two separate audits into eHealth are ongoing.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Po.....6-sun.html


( this story just keeps on geting more costly each day , it seems like this program was a totally rip off to the province )
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watching the news, you would be hard pressed to think this was a big story.
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
Watching the news, you would be hard pressed to think this was a big story.


it was a big story for a couple of days and on the front page of some newspapers here on monday i believe . but yeah it seems to have had its day in the spotlight and not anymore .
but the money continues to be thrown at this money pit , i read somewhere that they still plan to spend 2 billion on ehealth and this records system in the next 2 years as they attempt to get it up and running .
Mac





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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
Watching the news, you would be hard pressed to think this was a big story.

How could they continue focusing on a Liberal scandal? It would steal time better spent manufacturing outrage over the Raitt tape.

-Mac
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac wrote:
cosmostein wrote:
Watching the news, you would be hard pressed to think this was a big story.

How could they continue focusing on a Liberal scandal? It would steal time better spent manufacturing outrage over the Raitt tape.

-Mac


The same Raitt tapes recorded in January before the Chalk River fiasco? Or the Mulroney situation that happened in the early 1990's?

Thank goodness Joe Clark renounced the party otherwise we would have an inquiry into his leadership of the country.

I find it amazing that with the Conservatives no matter how old the news is, we need to discuss it to death, whereas with eHealth and AdScam once its over.

Its Over.
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eHealth making critics sick

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