eHealth Bill Doubles to $2 Billion Due to Liberal Mismanagement
23 July 2012
“When you have a lack of oversight, that’s a lack of appropriate management…When you get a lack of oversight, you get broken rules.”
- Auditor General Jim McCarter, CBC, October 9, 2009
QUEEN’S PARK – The Liberals’ legacy of overspending and mismanagement has added another $1 billion to the growing taxpayer bill for eHealth in the last three years alone, with little or nothing to show for it, said Ontario PC MPP Rob Leone today.
“Since the Auditor General released his scathing report of eHealth, Deb Matthews and Dalton McGuinty have had three years to right this sinking ship,” said Leone. “They’ve failed to take action, staying on their usual course of throwing taxpayer money at problems instead of actually fixing the issue. The result: the Liberals have doubled the taxpayer bill for eHealth, now at $2 billion and rising.”
Leone added that today during the Standing Committee on Estimates, Health Minister Deb Matthews failed to explain why the Liberals’ have continued to provide no proper oversight of the province’s eHealth initiative. “By now, Ontarians should be benefiting from better electronic tracking of their health care,” said Leone. “Instead, we’re finding out that eHealth projects backed by Cabinet are either non-existent, behind schedule or over budget.”
For example, after SARS broke out in 2003, the Liberals stated they would implement a system to manage and track immunizations, continued Leone. “With little regard to Ontarians’ health, the Liberals have let this project fall far behind schedule. Even Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer suggested an immunization tracking system would have helped during the H1N1 pandemic in 2010.”
“The Drug Information System was supposed to reduce prescription errors, drug overdoses and fraud – but this service is non-existent. Last week, the media reported on how the government has missed deadline after deadline for implementing the Diabetes Registry, a $54-million project,” stated Leone. “And the list goes on. Our Committee should not have to ask the Liberals to explain their mismanagement of the eHealth file three years after the Auditor General already did this.”
In 2009, Ontario’s Auditor General Jim McCarter released a special report documenting how the decade-long electronic health records initiative had wasted $1 billion in taxpayer money. eHealth was intended to help save lives, improve patient care and reduce costs by creating greater efficiencies within the health care system – savings sorely needed after almost nine years of Liberal overspending, putting Ontario on track for a $30-billion deficit by 2017-18, Leone stated.
“Once again, the Liberals have proven they cannot manage high-priority, complex files, such as Ontario’s $47-billion health care system,” concluded Leone. “If we want to protect critical services and improve healthcare for Ontarians, we need to curb overspending and do a better job of running the system – something the Liberals have failed to do with eHealth.”