(In photo: Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith.) On Monday, Alberta’s opposition Wildrose Party released expense receipts from Edmonton Capital Health executive vice-president and chief executive officer Michele Lahey. Although the receipts do not show what was provided, they do reveal that Ms. Lahey spent more than US$5,000 on what appear to be medical services, and another $1,000 on an airport shuttle and meals. Her total reimbursement was for $7225.30. Although no flights were reimbursed, the documents show the executive spent time at a nearby hotel. (via Michele Lahey accused of spending taxpayer money on medical expenses … in the United States | Canadian Politics | Canada | News | National Post)
- “She stayed at a hotel near the Mayo clinic and expensed a significant amount of money. If this was a conference, one would assume she would have just labelled it a conference and produced documentation of the conference she attended… If it was a conference, why didn’t she make a claim for the flight between Edmonton and Minnesota?” said Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle.
- “Everything about it clearly states it’s not on the up and up, so there’s something backdoorish about it.”
- Liberal MLA Raj Sherman agreed: “On the credit statement it clearly said, ‘Thank you for choosing the Mayo Clinic, thank you for your payment … If you have any questions on insurance claims or payment, contact your insurance representative,’ ” Dr. Sherman said. “The last I checked, insurance companies don’t cover conference expenses.”
- Ordinary Albertans are required to have their out-of-province medical expenses approved by a different ministry, he added.
- The documents do not say what Ms. Lahey was treated for at the clinic.
- The expenses date to 2007, which is before the province’s health boards amalgamated into one superboard. Shortly afterward, in 2008, Ms. Lahey appears to have been appointed CEO to a hospital in the U.K. Wildrose said it would be pursuing Ms. Lahey for the funds.
- Ms. Towle said her party began requesting access to former health executives’ expense receipts after Allaudin Merali — a senior executive at Alberta Health Services who was also implicated in Ontario’s e-health spending debacle — left the organization last year. It was revealed he had expensed thousands of dollars on lavish meals, alcohol and repairs on his Mercedes Benz. The official who was in charge of overseeing Mr. Merali’s expenses, Sheila Weatherill, resigned when the scandal came to light.