Prentice Speaks and Horne Jumps - AHS Reinstates Board of Directors

Even before he becomes the leader of the PC party and Premier of Alberta, Jim Prentice is setting the stage for yet another rerun of how AHS governs our health care system. Prentice has pledged to reinstate the "high-profile board" if elected Premier and yesterday Health Minister Fred Horne announced he will fulfill the promise early by returning AHS to what he called "normal governance."

Horne had fired the entire board in June 2013 after they refused Minister's request to cancel the AHS executive pay-at-risk payouts for 2012-13.

"Minister Horne's repeated changes to the way AHS is managed show it has no real independence," said Sandra Azocar, Executive Director, Friends of Medicare. "The appointment of a new board is nothing but a distraction from the real issues facing our health care system: long wait times, a shortage of long-term care beds, shortages of front line staff and a lack of doctors. The issue is not the structure; it is government's continuing inability to address the issues that matter most to Albertans."

Through the last 6 years AHS has been through seven CEOs and a never ending series of changes in AHS governance structure, all of which have been motivated more by government trying 'to save face', than by real health care planning.

"Reorganizations are costly and in Alberta's case have shown no evidence of improving front-line service delivery for Albertans," indicates Azocar. " It feels like we're repeatedly trying to change a tire on car that is upside down in a ditch."

Friends of Medicare is calling on the Minister of Health to truly commit, once and for all, to bring greater transparency and accountability to the governance of our healthcare system, regardless of its structure. Thinking and planning before one jumps may be just what is recommended.