Health Minister Pauline Frost says that the $1.5 million for the steering committee and Tiger Team is already included in the budget and are existing employees. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon NDP questions the cost of the health department’s medical review

$1.5 million appears to be going towards a steering committee and a “Tiger Team”

The NDP accused Yukon’s health minister this week of not being forthcoming about the cost of the planned medical review.

During question period on Nov. 15, NDP House Leader Kate White alleged that Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost didn’t account for roughly $1.5 million in additional money slotted for the review.

White obtained documents showing the alleged omission. The NDP shared them with the press.

The $1.5 million appears to be going towards a steering committee and what is referred to as a “Tiger Team.”

Frost insists the money is already in the coffers.

“The team that already exists within Health and Social Services (HSS) is conducting the work within the confines of their existing jobs,” Frost said during question period. “The objective of the internal team is to ensure that the panel is given the necessary support it requires to conduct its work in the time that we have allotted, which is to provide a summary to Yukoners by October 2019.”

The latter is conducting assessments research for the expert panel, Frost told reporters after question period.

On Nov. 7, Frost said, also during question period, that the review is 100 per cent covered by the federal government and will cost $600,000.

She corrected the record this week, saying that money allotted for the review is about $665,000, which is covered by “territorial health investment funding from the federal government.”

The NDP tabled 25 health department reports completed over the last 10 years, an apparent demonstration to reinforce questioning as to what difference the medical review will make.

“The $665,000 project will see results of better services and better alignment with Yukon communities — things that we have not seen historically,” Frost said. “We have seen some solid recommendations that have come out of the 2014 and 2008 reports that talk about comprehensive collaborative care to Yukoners. That is really essential and important.”

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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