Cancer clinic accused of patient queue-jumping under review

EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services says it will review the practices of a Calgary cancer clinic accused of allowing patients to jump the queue for tests.

EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services says it will review the practices of a Calgary cancer clinic accused of allowing patients to jump the queue for tests.

“For Alberta Health Services, access for any type of health care must be based on clinical circumstances,” Chris Mazurkewich, chief operating officer of AHS, said in an interview Tuesday announcing the review.

“It’s a core value.”

Mazurkewich said the investigation begins May 1 and is expected to be completed by the summer.

The review will be jointly conducted by two health care leaders and a physician from Edmonton.

Mazurkewich said they also want to determine why an internal investigation into reports of queue-jumping at Calgary’s Colon Cancer Screening Centre in early 2012 did not find any evidence, only to have evidence surface a year later at Alberta’s preferential access inquiry.

Last week, in closing submissions to the head of that inquiry, John Vertes, commission lead counsel Michele Hollins singled out AHS executives for doing little when warned in early 2012 that some patients were getting preferential treatment at the colon clinic, also known as CCSC.

Vertes has finished hearing testimony and is to submit his report to the Alberta government by Aug. 31.

Mazurkewich said even if AHS finishes their investigation earlier than Vertes, they will wait for the release of his report to see if any of his recommendations need to be added to their findings.

At the Vertes inquiry, CCSC clerks testified that from 2008 to 2012 — at the direction of management — they slotted in low-risk patients belonging to Dr. Ron Bridges and others from the Helios Wellness Centre within weeks or months. The wait for everyone else was three years.

Bridges is an associate dean of medicine at the University of Calgary and the founder of the CCSC. The inquiry heard Bridges is also a key fundraiser for the university.

Helios is a non-profit private clinic that dispenses yoga, exercise, and diet advice and, along with the CCSC, rents office space from the university.

The inquiry was told that Helios patients paid $10,000 a year to join, and that Helios donated $200,000 or more annually to the university to fund medical scholarships and other projects.

Bridges testified he didn’t follow the normal CCSC booking rules but never knowingly pushed a patient ahead in line.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Samantha Sharpe, 25, was stabbed to death at Sunchild First Nation on Dec. 12, 2018. Chelsey Lagrelle was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for manslaughter in a Red Deer courtroom on Tuesday. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta woman sentenced to 4 1/2 years for stabbing friend to death in 2018

Chelsey Lagrelle earlier pleaded guilty to stabbing Samantha Sharpe during argument

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Albertans need to keep making safe choices to start bending the curve back down. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, 257 additional cases province-wide

Red Deer sits at 459 active cases of the virus

Olds College logo
Olds College to host free, online agriculture celebration next month

Olds College will host a free live-streamed agriculture event next month. The… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services Logo
AHS upgrading online immunization booking tool

Alberta Health Services’ online booking tool for COVID-19 immunizations will be temporarily… Continue reading

Eric Rajah and Brian Leavitt were awarded with Meritorious Service Medals by the Governor General for co-founding the Lacombe-based charity A Better World. The agency’s goal is to reduce poverty and boost education in Africa and Afghanistan. (Contributed photo)
Co-founders of Lacombe-based charity receive one of Canada’s highest honours

Eric Rajah, Brian Leavitt of A Better World are honoured by the Governor General

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Dallas Stars' Mark Pysyk (13) and Tampa Bay Lightning's Ondrej Palat (18) compete for control of a loose puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) grabs a loose puck as Canadiens defenceman Ben Chiarot (8) and Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) battle for the rebound during first-period NHL hockey action Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2021, file photo, Creighton coach Greg McDermott watches the team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Butler in Indianapolis. McDermott apologized publicly Tuesday, March 2, for using insensitive language in his postgame locker room talk with players and staff following a loss over the weekend. In a tweet, McDermott said he used a “terribly inappropriate analogy in making a point about staying together as a team despite the loss.” (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Creighton coach McDermott apologizes for ‘plantation’ remark

Creighton coach McDermott apologizes for ‘plantation’ remark

WHL’s B.C. Division clubs cleared to play in Kamloops and Kelowna bubble environments

WHL’s B.C. Division clubs cleared to play in Kamloops and Kelowna bubble environments

World Rugby recommends postponing 2021 women’s World Cup to next year

World Rugby recommends postponing 2021 women’s World Cup to next year

Sean Burke speaks at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 25, 2017. The Montreal Canadiens have made another change to their coaching staff, appointing Burke to take over as the director of goaltending. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Montreal Canadiens appoint Sean Burke as director of goaltending

Montreal Canadiens appoint Sean Burke as director of goaltending

The Toronto Arrows line up ahead of their Major League Rugby game in Toronto on April 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson
Toronto Arrows train under the bubble before heading south of the border

Toronto Arrows train under the bubble before heading south of the border

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson watches her shot against Team Ontario in the final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., on February 28, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Kerri Einarson, Brad Gushue team up for national mixed doubles championship

Kerri Einarson, Brad Gushue team up for national mixed doubles championship

Most Read