Diabetes network misspent Ontario funding, report says
Northern Diabetes Health Network was informed by the ministry and made changes: CEO
Posted: Dec 14, 2012 8:22 AM ET
Last Updated: Dec 14, 2012 8:13 AM ET
A report from Ontario's Auditor General is alleging the Northern Diabetes Health Network in Thunder Bay has spent provincial dollars where it shouldn't have.
The Auditor General's report didn't name the Northern Diabetes Health Network, but CEO Susan Griffis confirmed it's her agency.
The report singles out about $40,000 a year for travel expenses and more than $100,000 for consultants to give advice on government relations.
The auditor also said the diabetes network spent money in ways that contradict rules for public sector expenses.
However Griffis said the organization’s practices were changed as soon as they heard from the Ministry of Health.
“They told us that this is what we needed to do and so, right away, the board and the staff did comply,” she said.
She noted the high travel costs resulted from flying around northern Ontario — trips that were often made at the Ministry's request.
“Yes there was travel,” she said.
“I travelled up to Northern communities and assisted and supported with foot care. I'm a nurse [and am] proud to have done that … Was that costly? It was costly.”
Northwest LHIN to look after diabetes program
As for the consultant, Griffis said her group needed one, since it doesn't have government relations people on staff. She said they chose one based on a recommendation from a hospital in southern Ontario.
"They suggested to our board that this firm could very much help with communication and being able to have a relationship with some of the decision makers,” Griffis said. “That's what it was used for."
She noted the audit had nothing to do with the province's recent decision to stop funding the diabetes network. The network used to receive about $20 million per year in provincial funding to provide training and disperse money to diabetes programs in the region.
The money will now be funneled through the Northwest Local Health Integration Network — a move the province said it had been planning since 2008.
The auditor's report said that, in June, the province recovered about $40,000 in unapproved expenditures from the diabetes network.
Read more: 97-99 of Ontario Auditor General's report
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