Albertans, Hold Onto Your Tea and Crackers as We Welcome New AHS CEO

Friends of Medicare welcomes new AHS CEO Vicki Kaminski. Kaminski is no stranger to the challenges of working in complex health care systems.  In 2009, when she became the head of the very troubled Eastern Health Authority Labrador and Newfoundland (EHALN), it was still reeling from the scandal-related to problems with breast screening from 1997 and 2005.  Many credit Kaminski with restoring the public's faith in the Newfoundland and Labrador health care system.

"It is our hope that Ms. Kaminski's experience will give her the confidence that she will need to stand up to the corporate culture of AHS and Alberta Health," said Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. "The system needs to be re-focused on providing quality health care instead of on increasing corporate profits. We hope Ms. Kaminski can provide that guidance."


While Ms. Kaminiski has had many successes in her career as an administrator and CEO in other jurisdictions, Friends of Medicare is also keenly aware of her reputation for focusing on finding so-called "efficiencies" - a word that is often code for cuts to front-line staff. As head of the Sudbury Regional Hospital and later of Eastern Health, Ms. Kaminski oversaw significant cuts to the number of RNs and LPNs as a way of balancing budgets. During her time at Eastern Health, Ms. Kaminski oversaw the contracting out of cleaning and meal services as well as the centralization of laundry services outside of hospitals. Most recently in 2014, Kaminski eliminated snacks of crackers and cups of tea for patients at St. John's hospitals to save just $97,000 in her approximately $1.2 billion budget.


"It is obvious that Ms. Kaminski is well versed in the modus operandi of our Alberta government and most definitely will have the 'efficiency and savings' rhetoric to justify cuts down pat," stated Azocar. "As a nurse trained to be a patient advocate we remind Ms. Kaminski that Albertans want their public health system strengthened and expanded, not dismantled. We look forward to meeting with Ms. Kaminski to discuss public solutions to an essential public service."