Superboard going broke

EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services is taking out a line of credit worth $200 million because it says it will be out of money by February.

EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services is taking out a line of credit worth $200 million because it says it will be out of money by February.

Members of the board of the provincial Conservative government health agency held a meeting Thursday, where it also updated its budget, saying it is $1.25 billion in the hole.

It was also revealed at the meeting that CEO Stephen Duckett has security staff surrounding him.

Board chairman Ken Hughes says Duckett is a “very high profile” public servant “so one provides the same kind of support that one would provide to any other high profile public servant in Alberta.

Hughes would not say if Duckett has received any threats.

Premier Ed Stelmach and Lieutenant Governor Norman Kwong are the only other public servants in the government that have security staff.

The board also learned that the cost of vaccinating all Albertans with the H1N1 shot is estimated at between $100 million and $150 million.

Duckett said that expense was not included in the agency’s budget because it’s something that happened after they formulated the budget.

Health Minister Ron Liepert said Tuesday that there’s no cause for panic that Alberta Health Services will be short of cash.

He says it’s a problem of cash flow that has to be addressed.

Alberta Health plans to shave $250 million from its deficit through cost savings this year, and is looking for ways to save another $965 million annually.

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