Alberta trying to get out of contract with troubled private health clinic

CALGARY — The fate of a private health clinic in Calgary is still tied up in the court system.

CALGARY — The fate of a private health clinic in Calgary is still tied up in the court system.

Alberta Health Services went to court Wednesday hoping to cancel its four-year contract with the Health Resource Centre and move knee and hip surgeries back to the Foothills Hospital.

AHS says the 140 workers at the centre will be offered jobs at a new clinic set to open on Nov. 15.

The private clinic, run by Networc Health Inc., is facing possible bankruptcy and the Alberta government stepped in and promised to pay the costs of an interim receiver.

AHS wants to end the contract now, as opposed to March 2012, and is going to court to see if that can happen.

Networc Health is fighting the move because it would be a hit to their business — the Health Resource Centre relies primarily on AHS-funded surgeries for income.

“It’s AHS’s belief that HRC is insolvent and, due to that, the game has changed,” says Colleen Turner of AHS.

The court still hasn’t ruled on the situation. The case is scheduled to be back in court at the beginning of September.

Friends of Medicare says according to the interim receiver’s report, Networc Health has unsecured debt of $8.4 million and will incur $1.4 million in legal costs over the next six months.

“The government should cut these investor-driven private health schemes loose from the public purse before we wind up losing more money and compromising the security of our health system even further,” David Eggen, executive director of Friends of Medicare, said in a news release.