Sunday, June 07, 2009

Where were the Chairman and Board of Directors?

Sarah Kramer received a bonus of $114,000 five months after starting her job as eHealth ECO. (Vince Talotta/Toronto Star File Photo)

Head of eHealth Ontario leaves job amid scandal
June 7, 2009
Queen's Park Bureau
The embattled CEO of eHealth Ontario Sarah Kramer has left the crown organization.
The decision was mutual, said Steve Erwin, press secretary for Health Minister David Caplan.
Kramer has come under heavy fire from political opposition over the past couple of weeks. The Star reported yesterday Kramer's fate was unclear after new revelations concerning her $114,000 bonus – which she received five months after starting her job as eHealth boss.
The revelations about the bonus, which comes on top of her $380,000 annual salary, were heaped on weeks of controversy over rich consultancy fees at the agency, executive perks and untendered contracts.
In a statement released today, Caplan said he was "acting immediately" on a request from the eHealth board of directors to revoke Kramer's appointment as president and CEO.
"This decision is an important step to restore public confidence in the agency and its mandate of modernizing our health care system," Caplan said in the statement.
Until a replacement is found, Ron Sapsford, deputy minister of health, will fill in as president and CEO.
Yesterday, in a letter to Caplan, the board said a change in leadership was needed in order for the organization to move forward.
Both the board and Ms. Kramer feel that a change in leadership is required to restore public confidence in the organization's ability to move our important mandate forward," the letter stated.
Caplan is expected to speak to reporters about the leadership change this afternoon.
The eHealth scandal has dominated the last couple weeks of debate in the Legislature.
The provincial auditor general and PricewaterhouseCoopers are reviewing the agency.
Last week the Star reported:
- eHealth Ontario paid a consultant who submitted an invoice for eight hours of work in which she said she consulted herself, then followed up with questions for herself. Agency spokeswoman Deanna Allen said the bill contained a typo and that the consultant had consulted and followed up with a colleague, but acknowledged the invoice had been paid as filed.
- At least $2 million in untendered contracts were awarded by eHealth to long-time associates of agency chair Dr. Alan Hudson and CEO Kramer, according to Progressive Conservative MPPs.
Allen said the eHealth board, not Hudson, awarded contracts before Kramer's arrival.
- An eHealth consultant billed for tea and a dessert square while earning $2,700 a day.
- Another consultant being paid $2,750 a day collected $75 a day for expenses. He has flown home to Edmonton 31 times in five months at a cost of nearly $21,000.


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