Christina Blizzard wrote "It's eHealth, the sequel" (Sun Media, Oct.20, 2010) regarding the McGuinty Liberals' latest health care mess as revealed by Auditor McCarter's latest Oct.2010 report:
"If this were the French Revolution, by now tumbrels would be rolling up University Ave., full of fatcat hospital CEOs.
But we're too polite. So no heads are rolling. They should.
We're told the reason hospital CEOs are some of the highest paid folk on the public payroll is because you have to pay for competence.
Hospital presidents and CEOs routinely make upwards of $500,000 a year -- some up to $700,000. What did we get for that?
A scathing report released Wednesday by the province's auditor general, Jim McCarter, paints a sordid tale of sole-source contracts to consultants by hospitals and Local Health Integration Networks.
This is eHealth -- the sequel.
For those of you who wonder why we're taxed to death, yet our health system is still an unholy mess, wonder no more.
Your money is being thrown into a black abyss to pay for well-connected insiders -- with little or no accountability.
"In auditing language, we essentially felt that the fix was in on some of these contracts," McCarter said.
We nickel and dime nurses, while consultants are being paid for fancy hotels and Christmas lunches out of tax money.
One hospital hired a consultant for a senior management job who was paid $275,000 a year.
From April 2007-December 2009, that consultant claimed $97,000 in fees for other consultants and $50,000 in administrative support fees -- neither of which was in his contract.
If your local ER or operating room has been closed, chew on this: He also billed the hospital twice for more than $7,000 relating to a salary bonus.
While cancer patients were told to wait for treatment, he charged hundreds of dollars a night for fancy accommodation -- $700 a night for five nights in Singapore alone. A $500 phone call in Chicago.
He charged dinners, one costing $300 for three people -- including $140 for booze! Yep, your health tax at work.
While the government preaches to us about how they have to cut back on health services because they can't be all things to all people -- consultants wined and dined at our expense.
Another hospital awarded a consultant three single-sourced contracts and three "follow-on" contracts (i. e., they simply added it on to the original contract with no bidding process) to a consultant to find out why the hospital had a budget shortfall.
Hello? Here's my advice, for free. As long as you're paying high-flying consultants big bucks without tendering the deal, you'll have a budget shortfall forever.
Another consultant was paid for a one-week trip to Hong Kong to attend a business conference, then tacked on a one-week trip to Japan.
Once the auditor started asking questions, the consultant repaid half the $7,800 airfare.
Another hospital executive retired -- only to be engaged shortly thereafter as a consultant -- for $100,000 more a year. Some gold-plated retirement!
Health Minister Deb Matthews was left to defend the indefensible. She has spoken sternly to the hospital CEOs. But will heads roll? No, she said.
Why? Because she'd asked the auditor if anyone should be fired and he'd said no.
That's a cop-out. It isn't the job of the auditor to hire and fire hospital CEOs. It's the job of the hospital boards. And who appoints the hospital boards? The health minister.
We've been betrayed.
Our precious health tax dollars haven't been used to heal the sick. They've been lining the pockets of well-connected parasites who should hang their heads in shame."
And in light of the above, what kind of shame might McGuinty's Liberals have?
Well... readers of the Oct.20, 2010 Niagara This Week were treated to a pg.7 photo of Niagara Falls Liberal MPP Kim Craitor attending a park-bench dedication in Fort Erie in memory of Reilly Anzovino. Although it is understandable that, as Richard Hutton wrote, "the day was not about politics", one cannot help but wonder how McGuinty's disgusting Liberals can ingratiate themselves so much that people lose sight of who is to blame for the health care mess in which the young Anzovino died.
Kim Craitor and his Liberals created the LHIN's; Kim Craitor's majority Liberals - through their newly-created LHIN's - then forced the NHS to cut spending; Kim Craitor's Liberals then approved - without question or review - the resultant HIP plan which the Liberals had forced the NHS to present; and then Kim Craitor's Liberals closed two hospital emergency rooms in Niagara.
Yeah - all of that was done by Kim Craitor and his Liberal majority government.
Let's pretend, then, that the stinking Liberal attending the memorial somehow had nothing to do with any of this - that somehow... wait for it... Mike Harris was responsible!! Well, that's what Kimmy and Deb Matthews and McGuinty want us all to believe! George Smitherman, we are led to believe, NEVER forced the NHS to CUT its budget!! Somehow, the NHS simply decided - all on its own - to close down two ER's!!
OK - the pretending is now over: having Craitor at the memorial of one of his health monopoly's victims was bizarre, to say the least. (like when Jim Bradley attended Suzanne Aucoin's memorial service.)
It's bizarre - after all the revelations of how Craitor's Liberals have wasted hundreds and hundreds of millions of health care tax dollars - to now witness the scope of the LIES, the DUPLICITY, and the WASTE perpetrated by Craitor's Liberals.
It's nice to know that while Craitor's disgusting Liberals were putting lives at risk by closing down hospital ER's, Craitor's Liberals were also dumping millions of healthcare dollars into the pockets of their Liberal buddies for necessities such as beer and vacations.
Let's go back to pretending that the shameless Kim Craitor had nothing to with any of this.