Auditor General Kim MacPherson will investigate hundreds of contracts for a new, provincial e-health initiative after an earlier audit criticized how 15 of the project’s contracts were managed.
New Brunswick's chief financial watchdog will look at the role of consultants in setting up the electronic patient record system and other services.
MacPherson would not agree to a taped interview, but she is confirming she will be the one doing the review. The auditor general’s investigation guarantees the results will be made public.
MacPherson's audit will follow up on work done by the Office of the Comptroller, which is the provincial government’s internal auditor.
MacPherson was the comptroller at the time that office conducted the initial audit on the e-health contracts.
That earlier, internal audit showed outside consultants were brought into the Department of Health to oversee the e-health project and were in a position to see invoices and documents from their competitors.
That access gave them a potential unfair advantage and put some in possible conflicts of interest.
In some cases, contractors were paid more than they were due under their contracts or extended their contracts without proper procedure.
Health Minister Madeleine Dubé responded by calling for a review of all 300 contracts.
Dubé said earlier this month that the independent review of e-health contracts is "on the way."
But Dubé hasn't said whether the independent review that she ordered last spring has started, what it has found, or when it will be finished. It's also unclear whether the review of more than 300 contracts awarded in the creation of the e-health system will be made public.
When the health minister called for the review, Dubé pointed out the contracts were signed under the watch of then-Liberal Health minister Michael Murphy.
Murphy defended his record on e-health contracts, saying no minister can be expected to investigate every company or every individual who works in the department.