Manitoba

Manitoba hires consulting firm to find 'waste, inefficiency' in health-care system

The consulting firm KPMG LLP has been awarded a government contract to find ways to eliminate waste in Manitoba's health care system and improve its efficiency and responsiveness.

KPMG will look at whether services are being provided at a reasonable cost, says minister

Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen says the consulting firm KPMG will look at whether the province's health-care services are being provided at a reasonable cost, if they're producing good results and if expectations are being met. (CBC)

The consulting firm KPMG LLP has been awarded a government contract to find ways to eliminate waste in Manitoba's health care system and improve its efficiency and responsiveness.

The province says the government, regional health authorities, Diagnostic Services of Manitoba, Cancer Care Manitoba and the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba will be included in the Health Care Sustainability and Innovation Review.

Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen says the firm will look at whether services are being provided at a reasonable cost, if they're producing good results and if expectations are being met.

He says in a release that the review — which was promised by the Progressive Conservatives several months ago — is timely in light of pending cuts to the Canada Health Transfer.

Goertzen also wants a first ministers meeting with the prime minister to discuss what he calls a long-term, predictable and flexible funding mechanism for health care.
Michelle Gawronsky, president of the MGEU, called the review "extremely, extremely disrespectful." (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

'Extremely disrespectful'

The president of Manitoba's largest union said she's "deeply concerned" by the announcement.

Michelle Gawronsky, president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union, said the move is reminiscent of a similar review of healthcare commissioned by the PC government in 1995 under Premier Gary Filmon and conducted by KPMG.

Gawronsky said the '95 review was an attempt to privatize healthcare at the time, and is concerned the same thing is happening now.

"To us, this is a very slippery slope," she said. "It raises a huge bunch of flags for us."

She said other KPMG studies have been used to "sell" privatization plans throughout the country, including Ottawa's decision to contract out snow-clearing services and Ontario's decisions to sell a majority stake in its Hydro corporation and liberalize the sale of beer.

"It's a huge disappointment, and to me, it is extremely, extremely disrespectful," she said.

"To bring them back again and have our members actually having to know that this same company is back in their midst is going to be disheartening and feel very disrespectful to us."

Gawronsky said she was surprised to learn about the review through the release, instead of in a meeting with Premier Brian Pallister hours earlier.

She added she'd rather see the government consult with health-care providers to fix any problems in the system. She said providers already know many of the dollar-wasting issues, including under staffing leading to heaps of costly overtime.

An initial report is expected by the end of next January, with a final report to follow that will include recommendations and plans for implementation, timelines and estimates of the projected savings.

With files from The Canadian Press

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