Janet Davidson will be the new administrator overseeing Alberta Health Services, announced Health Minister Fred Horne Friday afternoon.
Horne fired the entire AHS board earlier this week, citing its refusal to follow his order to reconsider awarding $3.2-million in bonuses to senior executives.
But some are questioning the timing of the board’s release, which came on the heels of a highly critical report that appeared quietly on the Alberta Health and Wellness website last week.
The report, which describes a lack of "stability in leadership" and "a tendency on the part of the government to become overly involved in AHS operations" was submitted to Horne six months ago but was published only shortly before Horne fired the board.
Speaking Friday, Horne said it was always his intention to release the report but that a set time was never established.
"The intent was to have a discussion so that when it was released, how we could use it to improve things in the healthcare system," he said.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Alberta Liberal leader Raj Sherman expressed skepticism about the timing of the report’s release.
"A government committed to openness and transparency doesn't quietly post such a damning report with no notice mere minutes before a major announcement on the same subject," says Sherman in the release. "Clearly, there is something here that the minister wants to hide."
"The minister sat on a controversial report until he could release it at a time when he thought nobody would notice," he adds.
Now, Sherman says he wants Horne to formally address the contents of the report before making any further changes to the province’s health system.
In the meantime, Davidson — a veteran of both government and healthcare administration — will remain in place until Horne’s department decides whether to appoint a new board or to revamp the managing structure.
While on the job, she will be paid $580,000 annually — over $100,000 less than the honorarium that was being paid to the now-fired board.