Whitehorse General Hospital recently won accreditation for another three years.
The hospital’s beleaguered CEO Michael Aeberhardt is happy about it.
And we’d like to share his joy.
But that’s impossible because he won’t release the document.
It’s an extremely troubling decision.
The accreditation document examines all the services the hospital delivers, and rates the standard of care.
It also delves into how the corporation treats its staff.
All that is then wrapped up in a neat report, with recommendations attached.
Aeberhardt called Whitehorse General’s accreditation the “highest standard a hospital can achieve.”
If that’s the case, why not release it?
Public institutions should be transparent.
Here in the Yukon, citizens have but one hospital. It must be well run. And the public must have confidence that it is.
Given that, openness is important.
But Aeberhardt is sitting on the institution’s most recent evaluation.
We suspect it’s because it came with several strings attached.
Accreditation can come with conditions.
And, if an institution fails to address them, it can lose its status.
In Whitehorse General’s case, “We have to review policy and corporate objectives,” said Aeberhardt, cryptically.
He wouldn’t elaborate.
It’s a lot like coming home and bragging to your parents that you’ve passed the latest school year and then refusing to hand over your report card.
In the past few months, the hospital has been a mess. Aeberhardt has often been the focal point.
Grievances filed by 120 unionized hospital workers have sharply escalated over the past year. Most relate to the hospital’s staff shortage.
Many inside and outside the hospital suggest care has diminished because of the staffing problems and administrative decisions.
Confidence is beginning to falter.
In fact, things have deteriorated so badly under Aeberhardt’s watch that last month doctors wrote a letter demanding his resignation.
That forced hospital board chair Craig Tuton to create a special task force to address the critical issues plaguing the hospital.
Setting up the task force was a lot like burying a coal fire. Robbed of oxygen, things look all right on the surface. But the problems are still smouldering.
Amid all this, the institution had to secure its accreditation.
There was some doubt about whether it would. But such a failure would have been extraordinary.
Very few institutions ever fail to get accredited.
Almost all achieve it.
And most hospitals make the results public.
Given the recent problems at Whitehorse General — the territory’s only hospital — it is in the public interest to learn what conditions the Canadian Council on Health and Services Accreditation placed on the institution.
The document should be released for public review.