NEWS

Manitoba Health releases audit of Bethania Group Personal Care Homes

CEO, Board violated new legislation designed to protect taxpayers

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Read the final audit document

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Thursday, March 21, 2013

Manitoba Health is taking action after a financial audit of Bethania Group Personal Care Homes has found both Bethania and Pembina Place Personal Care Homes (PCHs) to be in contravention of legislation passed last year to protect taxpayers and ensure responsible and transparent use of public funds, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

In October 2012, following recommendations made by the Manitoba ombudsman's office related to financial mismanagement at Middlechurch PCH, the minister committed to carrying out a series of financial audits at other care home facilities to ensure taxpayers are being protected. The financial audit of Bethania Group personal care homes was one of these audits. It found that:

  • the board allowed the CEO to retire from his $160,000-a-year position, collect a pre-retirement payment worth nearly half his annual salary, start collecting his pension and start a new contract in the same position the next business day with a salary increase;
  • this occurred while a government-imposed executive salary freeze is in place;
  • the CEO and Board breached the regulations and the intent of the new legislation; and
  • the CEO was actively involved in advising the Board on the structure of his new remuneration package and therefore in a conflict of interest.

The contract between Bethania and its CEO is in contravention of legislation the Manitoba government passed just last year prohibiting this exact scenario, Oswald noted.

"I'm disappointed we had to use this legislation so soon after it was enacted, but Manitoba families expect their tax dollars to be used ethically," the minister said.

"Bethania delivers excellent care, but this audit has revealed a series of decisions made by the Board and the CEO that fly in the face of new provincial legislation and widely recognized conflict of interest practices."

The deputy minister of health today advised the board to terminate the illegal contract with its CEO, giving it until April 2 to comply.

Manitoba has high standards for transparency and accountability in health care, the minister said, adding CEOs of personal care homes are already required to publicly disclose their salaries and recent amendments to the Regional Health Authorities Act will strengthen the transparency and accountability of public funding in the health-care sector by:

  • implementing tighter controls on executive compensation in regional health authorities (RHAs), hospitals and other health corporations;
  • requiring the expenses of CEO's of RHAs, hospitals and personal care homes be posted online; and
  • ensuring that if a health organization has a surplus of public funds, there is improved accountability and transparency for how those funds are used.

"Over the last year, we have engaged in a number of public discussions regarding the need for increased transparency and oversight of publicly funded health organizations," said Oswald. "This instance, though rare, reinforces the need for these conversations to continue, with a view toward implementing even stronger standards for accountability and public oversight."

Recent reviews of Bethania and Pembina Place have found both care homes meet provincial standards of care.  Should residents or their families have questions about care at either of these personal care homes, they can contact the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's Client Relations Line at 204-926-7825.

Read the final audit document

Source: Government of Manitoba

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