The bankruptcy and bailout of Health Resource Centre (HRC) gives Albertans a rare peek at how private, forprofit delivery of healthcare services actually works -- or, in fact, does not work.
For the first time, court documents and reports from the interim receiver have shone a light on the inner dealings of HRC, giving taxpayers a glimpse of the real cost and real risks of forprofit care.
Let's consider the facts as we know them so far. The HRC senior management team are paying themselves very well on the taxpayers' tab.
The interim receiver's report shows that Alberta Health Services (AHS) views the pay packages for HRC's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Stephen Miller and HRC's other two executives as "excessive," and have requested that the senior management team revise its compensation.
According to the court documents, "other than an offer from one of the management team to eliminate his car allowance, no proposal has been received." In other words, the HRC executives want taxpayers to cover their high salaries. That's a government handout, not an invisible hand.
We now know that, in addition to almost $3 million in receiver costs, rent and secured debt, Networc Health, the parent company of HRC, racked up at least $8.4 million in unsecured debt. It owes money to everyone from coffee suppliers to the Workers' Compensation Board.
Taxpayers are also on the hook for a whopping $1.4 million in legal costs. Clearly, HRC expects that Albertans will pay for their shareholder and corporate restructuring in the wake of their financial boondoggles.
When Albertans contracted HRC to conduct orthopedic surgeries, they did not expect to pay for expensive lawyers to re-structure a private contractor.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
David Eggen points out the irony of the supposedly staunchly pro free market Alberta Wildrose Alliance calling for a taxpayer bailout of a bloated and failed private healthcare experiment.
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