The board chair of Alberta Health Services is on the defensive Wednesday in response to allegations of political interference described in former AHS CEO Vickie Kaminski’s November resignation letter. The Wildrose opposition is also calling on the NDP government to release the full version of Kaminski’s letter to Albertans.
Alberta Health Services president and CEO Vickie Kaminski resigns
Kaminski’s Nov. 25, 2015 letter — obtained exclusively by CBC News – suggested she could no longer independently do her job as political interference worsened under the NDP, and specifically named Health Minister Sarah Hoffman.
In response, AHS board chair Linda Hughes said “corporate governance at AHS is working very well” and the new board has helped “foster productive and collegial relationships with Alberta Health, the minister and deputy minister, and their teams.”
“A letter written several months ago looks backwards and is not reflective of the present day,” Hughes wrote in a statement.
“The minister, interim president and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu and I have all publicly stated how important relationships are to the success of AHS. We are working with all of our partners through respectful and forward-looking relationships.”
Hoffman issued a statement in response to the controversy Wednesday, saying the department is doing its job.
“Our government will not run a privatized health care system with out-of-control costs, but that’s exactly what the previous government set up. That’s precisely why we directed AHS to set a course in the best interest of patients and taxpayers,” Hoffman said.
“We’re doing our job and it’s unfortunate that Ms. Kaminski didn’t want to be a part of that.”
For its part, the Wildrose released a heavily redacted version of Kaminski’s letter, and urged the NDP to explain its contents.
“Many Albertans are already worried that the NDP government is focused more on ideology instead of outcomes, but today many more feel that the NDP can no longer be trusted to manage the health care system,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said in a statement.
Hughes said the AHS board’s search for a permanent CEO is underway.
At the time of her resignation, Hoffman thanked Kaminski for the “passion” she brought to the role.
“I appreciate the range of experience Vickie brought to the table, from her work as a front line nurse, to hospital administrator, and then as CEO,” Hoffman said in a statement. “Vickie has been committed to health care for many years, and I wish her nothing but the best as she moves ahead to new opportunities.”
READ MORE: Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman creates new Alberta Health Services Board
AHS is governed by a board of directors and has operated as an arm’s-length agency from the Alberta Health ministry. It’s the province’s largest employer and the largest health system in Canada, serving over four million people living in Alberta, as well as some residents of Saskatchewan, B.C. and the Northwest Territories.
With files from Global’s Tom Vernon
Read below for the redacted version of the letter obtained by the Wildrose party:
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