Controversy continues to grow regarding eHealth Ontario with respect to contracts awarded to the Courtyard Group (a consulting company) and additional external consultants.
The Toronto Star - June 4, 2009: 'At least $2 million in untendered contracts were awarded by eHealth Ontario to long-time associates of agency chair Dr. Alan Hudson and CEO Sarah Kramer, Progressive Conservative MPPs allege. The revelations marked the first time the growing controversy surrounding the agency has involved Hudson, the former president of the University Health Network and the key figure in Ontario's push to reduce wait times. eHealth chiefs gave $2M deals to associates'
These matters are under investigation at present by Ontario's Auditor General and it is evident that any dirty laundry will be aired. However, even more important that the underlying controversy is the impact that this uncertainty will have on strategies underway to deliver care to Canadians. eHealth Ontario is a massive undertaking that involves a virtual army of people to deliver meaningful and useful products and services. To keep these projects moving forwards requires coordination with multiple parties in the system (government, health regions [LHINS], community services, physician practices etc. Deadlines and dependencies are par for the course and when one wheel grinds to a halt, it has a devastating impact on other components.
If the ultimate decision is to replace the leadership of eHealth Ontario, the impact on the overall strategy will be significant. There are few individuals who understand the complexity of initiating and then coordinating programs of this complexity and in my opinion, the impact could bring into question the value of the entire program and whether the approximately $2Billion strategy will be able to deliver on its promise.
In the end, we have all lost as a result of this unfortunate saga. An opportunity squandered that has significant implications for eHealth as well as the health of Canadians.
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