Hospital CEO contract ends abruptly

Whitehorse General Hospital CEO Michael Aeberhardt’s contract mysteriously ended on Thursday. Aeberhardt was nine months into his three-year…

Whitehorse General Hospital CEO Michael Aeberhardt’s contract mysteriously ended on Thursday.

Aeberhardt was nine months into his three-year contract.

“When we brought him on in November 2006, there were some issues we needed him to help us deal with,” said hospital board chair Craig Tuton on Friday.

“He helped us deal with those issues and now was an opportune time to make a change.

“The board felt we got through that area and felt it was time to move ahead.”

In June, local doctors presented Aeberhardt with a petition demanding his resignation, after tension between the CEO and hospital staff came to a head.

To manage the crisis, the hospital board developed a special task force to deal with many of the issues plaguing the hospital.

At the time, Tuton said “the board was going to work very closely with Aeberhardt and his staff to make sure we move forward in a positive manner.”

Tuton was saying one thing in the spring and something very different today, said Liberal leader Arthur Mitchell on Friday.

While under fire, Health Minister Brad Cathers “said he had confidence in the CEO,” said Mitchell.

“And now they’ve turned around and gone a different direction.”

It’s spin, said Mitchell.

“They’re trying to say they achieved what they needed and are now looking at a different skill set.”

The board wanted to move ahead through the hospital accreditation process, said Tuton.

“Now we’ve done that and know we need to review some corporate policies and move ahead with some strategic planning.”

Tuton refused to comment on the terms of Aeberhardt’s departure.

And he would not say whether there was a severance package.

“That’s a personnel issue and I’m not able to discuss that,” said Tuton.

Elvira Knaack will be replacing Aeberhardt in the interim.

“I am pleased at the positive steps taken by the board,” said acting Yukon Medical Association president Rao Tadepalli, in a release.

“We look forward to working as before in a collaborative manner with the board to ensure better patient care.”

Problems at the hospital persist, said Mitchell.

“I have heard from workers in the hospital who have been there quite a while that they are looking for opportunities elsewhere,” he said.

Doctors and nurses have been speaking out about problems at the hospital for months.

“But the government has been in denial.

“They seem to only operate in crisis mode,” he said, citing the rural ambulance situation.

“The Health minister is in over his head and he needs to become capable of doing his job, or the premier needs to find someone who can.”