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Former Capital Health CEO testifies as inquiry moves to Calgary
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Monday, January 7, 2013 7:06PM MST
The inquiry into preferential treatment within Alberta’s healthcare system resumed Monday in Calgary, beginning with long-awaited testimony from the former CEO of Capital Health.
Former Capital Health CEO Sheila Weatherill appeared uncomfortable at times throughout her testimony Monday afternoon – particularly when questioned directly about why she appeared to find it necessary to tell hospital executives that a prominent person was coming for treatment.
She insisted in her testimony that such calls were made for information only, as a measure to protect the security and privacy of ‘VIPs’ – not to make it possible for them to receive faster treatment.
“I feel there is a value in passing on information to the senior people, so that they would have an awareness that these people had become part of the health system,” Weatherill said Monday when asked what the point of calling officials at facilities ahead of the arrival of VIPs.
Weatherill said she never followed up her calls with hospitals to find out what action was taken.
However, she also agreed under questioning that existing hospital rules already include such confidentiality.
The testimony came after a former executive at the University of Alberta had testified Weatherill’s office had demanded its calls be returned to ensure a patient was being taken care of, but there was no demand for favoured treatment.
Former Liberal MLA Harry Chase testified Monday morning – that he did not know of any instances of expedited care, nor did he receive such requests.
This is the second round of hearings in the preferential treatment inquiry – in early December, two weeks of hearings were held in Edmonton.
While a number of witnesses have testified, including politicians and senior health executives, no conclusive evidence had been provided.
Health Minister Fred Horne is scheduled to testify Thursday.
With files from Serena Mah and the Canadian Press