Yukon taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $100 million that the Yukon Hospital Corp. will be borrowing to build and renovate several hospitals, without any research to justify that spending, NDP MLA Todd Hardy says.
Hardy grilled Health Minister Glenn Hart on Monday about the hospital corporation's rapidly escalating bill, and how the territorial government plans to pay for it.
A Crown corporation, the Yukon Hospital Corp. doesn't make any money, but it is spending a total of about $115 million to build hospitals in Watson Lake and Dawson City, as well as to build a new residence for visiting health-care workers at Whitehorse General Hospital.
"Not only are Yukon taxpayers expected to back the costs of two new hospitals and a visiting staff residence, we have now been alerted to an additional expense of $45 [million] to $50 million dollars for expansion of emergency and diagnostic services at the the Whitehorse General Hospital," Hardy said in the legislature.
"So we're up over $115 million that will have to be borrowed by a corporation that generates no money."
As well, Hardy said neither Hart nor the hospital corporation has any studies to even prove the new health-care facilities are needed.
"They have no studies — none — to justify this massive expenditure," Hardy said.
Hart did not give a clear answer on who will pay the hospital corporation's capital bills, or when those bills could be expected to arrive.
However, hospital construction in Watson Lake and Dawson City will continue, Hart said.
"The concentration for us has been the facilities in Watson Lake and Dawson City," he said.
And while Hart wasn't about to point to any studies proving the new facilities are needed, he said that need was proven during the Yukon's H1N1 influenza outbreak last fall, when overflow patients from Whitehorse were taken to Watson Lake for treatment at its community hospital.