Kaminski takes resignation call with grain of salt

Eastern Health CEO Vickie Kaminski says she is not leaving her job, despite a politician's call for her to quit or be fired.
Eastern Health CEO tells Jonathan Crowe she is staying put 5:41

The boss of the largest health authority in Newfoundland and Labrador will not be complying with a Liberal MHA's call for her head, although Vickie Kaminski says Jim Bennett is entitled to his opinion.

Bennett last week called for Kaminski to quit as chief executive officer of Eastern Health, or for the board to fire her, citing revelations of privacy breaches that included a fired nurse who inappropriately looked up scores of medical records.

But Kaminski, in an interview with Here & Now, said she's staying put.

"I hate to disappoint Mr. Bennett, but I'm not going to be doing either," said Kaminski, adding she has the support of the authority's board. "There's certainly no indication that I'm going to be fired."

Kaminski revealed in July that a nurse had been fired for privacy breaches — which included looking at medical records of her ex-husband, her boyfriend's ex-partner, her tenant and others she knew — and that four others had been fired for similar reasons over the last 15 months.

Bennett blamed Kaminski for the breaches, even though Eastern Health said it has been strengthening its zero-tolerance approach to breaches.

"I think everybody's entitled to an opinion, whether it's informed or not. That's what Canada's all about," Kaminski said.

"So you listen to those opinions and take them for what they're worth."

Meanwhile, Kaminski disagreed with Bennett's analogy that she should be fired because fish rot from the head first.

"I'm not sure how a fish rots. But I can tell you that there's not a lot rotten at Eastern Health. We are actually doing some very, very good work," said Kaminski, adding the vast majority of employees abide by policies.

"Every now and then, one of them falls off the rails, and we have to be able to know how to deal with it and do what we have to do," she said.

After Eastern Health disclosed the breaches, the province's three other health authorities followed suit and disclosed similar breaches, including a fired Western Health employee who had single-handedly looked at the files of 1,043 patients.