Statement by Sarah Kramer



    TORONTO, Aug. 13 /CNW/ - Since leaving eHealth Ontario in June, I have
refrained from public comment about my time as CEO, or the controversy that
prompted my departure from the organization. However, in the last few days, a
number of media reports have appeared, filled with new and misleading
allegations. In these circumstances, I now feel compelled to make the
following comments.
    The Auditor General of Ontario is currently conducting a review of the
consultant fees and all other financial matters relating to my time at eHealth
Ontario - and the period that preceded me at Smart Systems for Health Agency
(SSHA). These latest media stories are an attempt to pre-empt that report and
its findings.
    The simple fact is that when I took over as CEO at eHealth Ontario last
year, I was charged with turning around a failing behemoth - SSHA - which had
already run through more than $600 million dollars with hardly anything to
show for it in terms of moving Ontario closer to the goal of eHealth, and
modernizing and improving the quality and safety of health care for Ontarians.
    With the clear direction and full support of the Board and the
government, I worked hard to jumpstart what, as SSHA, had been a moribund and
deeply troubled and dysfunctional organization. An essential part of this was
shedding an internal culture that prized process above results. This had two
important consequences: ruffling the feathers of an entrenched and ineffective
bureaucracy, and bringing on outside consultants - among the most respected
eHealth experts not just in Canada, but the world.
    As with any major change, our efforts were met with strong, intractable
resistance and outright hostility in some quarters, including within the
Ministry of Health and among a few other vested interests in the health care
sector. Indeed, much of the sensationalized media coverage over the last
several months has been based on the unchallenged accounts of those interests
who opposed and sought to forestall these essential reforms which the
government had mandated me to implement.
    The immense opposition which confronted us made the work of outside
health care and eHealth experts even more essential. The sums involved in
recruiting this expertise were not negligible. But I - with the full support
of the Board of Directors - believed that was an essential investment in
turning around what was a badly drifting organization. Given the many hundreds
of millions that were squandered under the auspices of SSHA, it is ironic that
the much smaller amounts spent on these consultants that have garnered so much
attention.
    These are the facts.
    Rather than a continuation of these misleading and destructive news
stories, I look forward to the Auditor General's report.




For further information:

For further information: Marion Mackenzie, (416) 970-5909

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