Documents reveal increased health administration costs for years to come

April 29, 2014

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says new documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act prove Nova Scotians are on track to see health administration costs increase in the coming years as a result of the Liberal health superboard.

“This is exactly the opposite direction Nova Scotia needs to be heading in. We have worked hard to reduce administration costs to the point where we are now in line with the national average. Instead of focusing on front line care, the Liberals will pour more money in to administration costs,” said MacDonald.

According to a briefing note prepared for Minister of Health Leo Glavine (see attached), the Department of Health has identified various District Health Authority amalgamation costing categories including consultant costs, staff costs, travel costs, information technology and system change costs – including SAP requirements, polling and communications costs, and severance costs.

The briefing note also indicates, “There will be costs incurred in transition year and the first years of implementation,”

“To date the Premier and Minister Glavine have refused to provide any information about what the Liberal superboard will cost. Now that we know the Department has identified various cost areas, we are asking the Premier to be transparent and present his plan to Nova Scotians,” said MacDonald.

The Minister of Health has said repeatedly he could not provide an estimate of amalgamating Nova Scotia’s District Health Authorities because estimates have not yet been developed. However, the briefing note indicates there are general estimates for all the categories outlined above and indicates the general financial components have been approved.

“We know that amalgamating health boards in other provinces has led to increased costs in administration, as much as 13 per cent in the first year in Alberta,” said MacDonald.

“The Minister may not have a line by line list of costs yet, but the notes suggest he is aware of a total budget which he refuses to disclose. It’s only fair Nova Scotians be presented the plan for amalgamation before it’s implemented and not after.”