Tuesday, May 16, 2017

When Hoffman became health minister in 2015, she refused, based on advice from her officials, to give Pure North more funding for its seniors program. But in October 2016, her ministry signed a grant with the foundation for a nurse-practitioner-led primary care clinic in Calgary. The grant is worth up to $4.2 million over several years. Hoffman has insisted Pure North will not be offering any of its alternative-health treatments at its primary care clinic and it will not refer patients to its other program. Cooper said the Wildrose will continue to press for answers from Hoffman in the legislature. "We are seeing a track record from this government of a lack of openness and transparency" Cooper said. "And now we see the health department ducking and weaving on a very, very important issue of transparency."

I'm curious why $14.2 million was spent by both the PCs and the NDPCs on the Pure North program without any sort of deliverables that I can determine. Why was the money given first by the PCs upfront with no sort of spreading out of the cash? Then when the program failed to prove benefits why was $4.2 million given by the NDPCs? Surely the GOA would have learnt from its first mistake?
Meanwhile what of the fate of the vulnerable populations who participated as human guinea pigs in this program with the full complicity of the GOA? Does government think of the public health and safety or does it simply think of political aspects of the handing of cash to folks?
It's curious to me that there are no answers from Alberta Health. Why won't they reply to this stay at home mummy about the transfer of patient data to this foundation?
Who the heck do the folks at Alberta Health and AHS think they are that they can simply ignore us in this way?
They should answer my questions. Heck they should answer the questions of the Wildrose folks and the journalists.
We're sewer rats to the NDP folks but we're the ones who fund the elite.
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I've still not received any answers to these questions from Alberta Connects. I guess the ban on revelations about Pure North extends to even stay at home mummies. I'm curious why so much of our taxpayer dollars went to this program which isn't really productive in my opinion. I am also curious about the decision making tree at Alberta Health (if there is one).

The Pure North program seems odd but you decide:


http://purenorth.ca/pure-north-program/


*****
I will wait for a bit to see if the folks at the GOA reply to my questions. If they don't answer I will join the opposition in asking the auditor general to do the audit. It's important to see the value for the money spent.

 Very poor behaviour by the folks in government who have learned well from the PCs that no answer is a pretty good way to avoid digging a bigger hole to fall through.

Here are my questions that I keep asking about as I have done for previous queries that the GOA ignores. They should change the 3 working days response to say that the GOA responds only to the questions that they want to answer and when there are questions that lead to a poor picture of the decision making tree in the GOA-then there are no answers at all --ever.


Medical information provided to Pure North S'Energy Foundation by the government of Alberta through AHS (AC434857)

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From: <AlbertaConnects@gov.ab.ca>
Date: Sun, Apr 23, 2017 at 7:27 PM
Subject: RE: Funding of upgrades and expansion of the Misericordia Hospital (AC435303)
To: 


**********This is an automatically generated email, please do not reply to this email. **********

Thank you for asking a question or sharing your thoughts with the Government of Alberta. We try to respond to all questions within 3 working days. If you need to visit us again, please visit Alberta.ca
Stay in touch

This site is frequently updated to provide you with important information about Alberta programs and services. It's also an opportunity for you to provide your government with feedback on the issues that concern you. Please visit our site again soon to read an article, or send a comment. Internet: Alberta.ca 
(AC435303) 

Your message was 
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Funding of upgrades and expansion of the Misericordia Hospital 
Hi, In a recent government release I noted that the government of Alberta was striving to reverse the bad decision making of the PCs with the bad decision making of the NDP folks. I am referring to the building of a new emergency for the Misericordia hospital that will cost taxpayers $65 million dollars. https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=466000E591E06-F8BE-4249-5070004277723287 Misericordia hospital gets new emergency department A new emergency department is part of a $65-million capital investment in the Misericordia Community Hospital over four years that will improve care for ER patients. ******* This expenditure is in addition to previous upgrades that cost us a bundle as well. http://globalnews.ca/news/3353415/65m-for-misericordia-hospital-will-include-new-emergency- department/ The $65 million is on top of more than $9 million the province has spent on improvements to elevators, water systems, fire alarms and sprinklers. **** I have several questions for the Premier's Office. 1) Why do we even have a Catholic health authority in Alberta? Can you provide me with the legislation that underpins the creation of Covenant Health as an equal health authority to Alberta Health Services? 2) If the decision to create a parallel Catholic health authority in Alberta was simply made by the PCs with no sort of legislative requirements for its existence then why are the NDP folks keeping this entity as a second costly system? 3) If there is legislation that requires this entity to be present why can't the NDP folks simply amend this legislation to ensure that there is only one health authority? 4) If there are no legislative requirements for the people of Alberta to be paying for the upgrades, improvements and expansion of properties owned by this private organisation and health authority of unknown requirements--why are we doing this job? 5) What is the exact role of this private organization in health care services delivery in Alberta and is it subject to the authority of Alberta Health Services? Or is it a power unto itself? 6) Why does the auditor general of Alberta not determine if it is better for us to pay for the properties of private organizations like Covenant Health which appears to be short term decision making rather than investing in public properties through AHS? Thanks for your assistance. Sincerely, Julie Ali And by the way I haven't received my answers to this query yet: This site is frequently updated to provide you with important information about Alberta programs and services. It's also an opportunity for you to provide your government with feedback on the issues that concern you. Please visit our site again soon to read an article, or send a comment. Internet: Alberta.ca (AC434857) Your message was -- Medical information provided to Pure North S'Energy Foundation by the government of Alberta through AHS 
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From: <AlbertaConnects@gov.ab.ca>
Date: Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 1:09 AM
Subject: RE: Medical information provided to Pure North S'Energy Foundation by the government of Alberta through AHS (AC434857)
To:


**********This is an automatically generated email, please do not reply to this email. **********

Thank you for asking a question or sharing your thoughts with the Government of Alberta. We try to respond to all questions within 3 working days. If you need to visit us again, please visit Alberta.ca

Stay in touch

This site is frequently updated to provide you with important information about Alberta programs and services. It's also an opportunity for you to provide your government with feedback on the issues that concern you. Please visit our site again soon to read an article, or send a comment. Internet: Alberta.ca 
(AC434857) 

Your message was 
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Medical information provided to Pure North S'Energy Foundation by the government of Alberta through AHS
I have some questions about the release of patient information to Pure North S'Energy Foundation by the government of Alberta through AHS. From this newspaper article I understand that this foundation was given patient information:http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/pure-north-unproven-benefits-1.4053866 Alberta rushed $10-million grant, eliminated ethical oversight, for unproven health program Review found Pure North program could not prove health or economic benefits By Jennie Russell, Charles Rusnell, CBC News Posted: Apr 04, 2017 5:00 AM MT Last Updated: Apr 04, 2017 5:00 AM M "The Government of Alberta, and Alberta Health in general, isn't interested in funding research projects," Carter said. "They're interested in funding health care for Albertans. So they decided to shift the project and we agreed to shift the project to providing direct health care." Internal documents, however, show that immediately after Pure North received the funding, Markin began seeking access directly through health minister Fred Horne to anonymized patient data from Alberta Health Services. Markin wanted access to the data so university researchers could assess the efficacy of the recently funded seniors program. Pure North collects detailed medical information from its participants, including blood samples, and has built a "mega-database" to which university researchers have been provided access. The foundation, however, insists it is not conducting research but instead gathers data to gauge the efficacy of its program. Its spokesperson, Stephen Carter, told CBC News the information provided to researchers is simply a "secondary" use of that data. I have several questions about this transfer of information first from government to the foundation and from the foundation to the university researchers. 1) It was my understanding that patient information is only released for studies and folks have to go through a particular mandatory review process prior to the provision of patient data. For example to access Netcare data there is this protocol that has to be followed as noted below. http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/research/page8594.aspx As custodians of health information, AHS must evaluate applications for data for studies approved by Research Ethics Boards (REBs) prior to disclosing health information, performing data matching or any other services requested to facilitate the research project. If the custodian decides to support the research as requested, the custodian must impose the conditions suggested by the REB and enter into an HIA Research Agreement in which the researcher agrees to: Comply with HIA regulations; Any conditions imposed by the custodian relating to the use, protection, disclosure, return or disposal of the health information; and Any requirement imposed by the custodian to provide safeguards against the identification, direct or indirect, of an individual who is the subject of the health information. This can even include requiring consent (even if the REB has waived it) if the information is particularly sensitive. The most common forms to access data include: Data Extraction Paper Charts Direct System Access (Including Alberta Netcare Portal) ********************************************** Was there a specific protocol followed prior to the release of the data on patients? 2) Why was the data even provided to Pure North S'Energy Foundation in the first place since it was not doing a research study? There was no ethics board review of the study thanks to the transformation of the study into a health program by government so why was this foundation given access? 3) What are the rules for release of patient information when there is no study and there is only health services apparently being offered to a group of guinea pig citizens? 4) What sort of consent forms were filled in for these guinea pig citizens so that they would take part in a health program of dubious benefit and possible adverse side effects? 5) Were there any problems associated with this health program that was funded by Alberta Health? 6) What sort of liability is present for the public purse when information is released in a manner that seems rather unregulated to a private foundation to use as it sees fit? 7) What sort of liability is present when the foundation then generates information (data) out of this quack science project that we pay for involuntarily and this information is released to universities for further quack science work? 8) Who are the decision makers for the release of information and who can we complain to about this matter of what appears to be unregulated release of patient data? Do we complain to the government FOIP person and if so who is this person? Please provide a contact. Thank you for your help. Sincerely, Julie Ali http://ipo.ualberta.ca/en/Health-Information-Act/Research-and-Netcare.aspx Research and Netcare Expanded Access to Netcare for Research The Alberta Netcare Portal (Netcare) is a viewer of health information provided from many source systems across the province. It is a powerful clinical tool and increasingly investigators are requesting access to this information for research purposes. As a custodian of Netcare, Alberta Health Services (AHS) is bound by the Information Exchange Protocol (IEP) (2007) when providing access for research personnel. Because ANP was developed primarily as a clinical tool, the rules around access for research are currently quite limiting. Revisions to these rules are expected to be tabled in the next session of the Alberta Legislature at which time we will have an opportunity as a collective community of investigators and research administrators to review and comment on how well the changes respond to our evolving research environment. In the meantime, AHS Research Administration has collected specific examples of research activities that are consistent with the intent of the IEP but under the existing interpretation could not acquire data directly from Netcare. The AHS Chief Privacy Officer, Mike Tolfree, has reviewed the AHS obligation under the IEP in light of these examples and has offered an expanded interpretation of the IEP that permits AHS to offer better (albeit not ideal) access for researchers while we await the changes in legislation. Thanks to Drs. Lawrence Richer, Richard Fedorak and Michael Hill who gathered comments from the research communities at the Universities of Alberta and Calgary to inform the drafting of these materials. The new criteria for access and process for obtaining access are available at: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/8594.asp To see AHS memo on Accessing Information from the Alberta Netcare Portal (ANP) for Research Purposes click here. http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/research/page8594.aspx Data & Health Information Resources When Planning Your Study: Identify Your Data Source(s) Research Facilitation offers consultation to determine data sources most suited to your research questions. To learn more about the availability of AHS data sources for research contact Research.Facilitation@ahs.ca. For information on criteria and procedures for accessing data for research, contactResearch.Administration@ahs.ca. When Conducting Your Study Research Ethics Boards (REBs) and AHS, as data custodians, have different responsibilities under the Health Information Act when health information is requested for use and disclosure for clinical research purposes. As custodians of health information, AHS must evaluate applications for data for studies approved by Research Ethics Boards (REBs) prior to disclosing health information, performing data matching or any other services requested to facilitate the research project. If the custodian decides to support the research as requested, the custodian must impose the conditions suggested by the REB and enter into an HIA Research Agreement in which the researcher agrees to: Comply with HIA regulations; Any conditions imposed by the custodian relating to the use, protection, disclosure, return or disposal of the health information; and Any requirement imposed by the custodian to provide safeguards against the identification, direct or indirect, of an individual who is the subject of the health information. This can even include requiring consent (even if the REB has waived it) if the information is particularly sensitive. The most common forms to access data include: Data Extraction Paper Charts Direct System Access (Including Alberta Netcare Portal) Data Extraction Paper Charts Direct Electronic Medical Records Details Data can often be extracted and linked for research purposes from AHS clinical and corporate systems. If you require assistance in identifying appropriate data source(s) for your research project and for information about AHS Data Reporting Repository (AHSDRR), please contact Research.Facilitation@ahs.ca. Research Facilitation provides data extraction and linkage services from AHS Administrative Data Sources for most Research Ethics Board approved projects free of charge. Charges may apply to highly complex projects and industry-funded research. Services include: Refine research question to make it suitable for analysis using administrative data sources Identify appropriate administrative data sources Identify and operationalize cohorts using administrative data Identify and operationalize outcome measures Identify and operationalize covariates and confounding factors Prepare a data acquisition plan that describes steps to take in acquiring data Share Report a problem Go to top GIVE PAY PATIENT FEEDBACK About this site CONTACT Contact Us Emergency Numbers 811 Health Link Patient Feedback Continuing Care Concerns DATA & REPORTING Emergency Wait Times EMS Response Times Expense Reporting Restaurant Inspections Wait Times Reporting GET INVOLVED Advisory Councils Give: Foundations & Health Trusts Patient & Family Advisors Thank the People Who Care Volunteer at AHS GET MOBILE Download our mobile apps © Alberta Health Services 2017 Terms of UsePrivacy Statement What sort of 
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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/sarah-hoffman-pure-north-alberta-health-1.4116502


CBC INVESTIGATES

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman's credibility questioned on Pure North issue

Internal briefing note raises doubts about Hoffman’s statements in legislature

By Jennie Russell, Charles Rusnell, CBC News Posted: May 16, 2017 5:00 AM MT Last Updated: May 16, 2017 5:00 AM MT
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has said she knew nothing about health safety issues related to the private health foundation her ministry recently funded.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has said she knew nothing about health safety issues related to the private health foundation her ministry recently funded. (CBC News)
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Health Minister Sarah Hoffman either misled the legislature or her senior staff withheld critical information from her about health safety issues related to a program offered by a private alternative health foundation to which she approved millions of dollars in funding, an internal briefing note shows.
In a March interview with CBC News, Hoffman said she knew nothing about serious health safety issues identified in government documents related to the Calgary-based Pure North S'Energy Foundation before she  approved a $4.2-million grant to the foundation in October 2016 for a primary-care clinic.
On April 10, in response to questions from Wildrose MLA Tany Yao, Hoffman told the legislature she still had no specific knowledge of health risks associated with the foundation's alternative health program.
But an Alberta Health Services (AHS) briefing note shows that on Sept. 28, 2016 — a month before her ministry signed the $4.2-million grant agreement — Hoffman's office was told health officials had previously identified the "potential for negative health effects" resulting from the foundation's distribution of high-dose supplements to vulnerable populations.
"Either she has misrepresented the facts inside the house, or her staff haven't provided her with the appropriate information, both of which should be very concerning," Wildrose accountability critic Nathan Cooper said in an interview.
The Wildrose obtained the briefing note through a freedom of information request and provided it to CBC News.
Hoffman's press secretary Tim Wilson did not acknowledge an interview request from CBC News last week. Hoffman has also repeatedly refused to answer questions about lobbying and allegations of conflict of interest involving her deputy minister, Carl Amrhein, who was a participant in the Pure North program.
Pure North is a privately run, non-profit foundation that offers an unproven alternative health program involving high doses of supplements, including vitamin D. The foundation focuses its work on vulnerable populations and operates free programs at homeless shelters and drug recovery centres.

'Potential for negative health effects'

The September 2016 briefing note was prepared for Hoffman and AHS chief executive officer Dr. Verna Yiu. Called "Issues and Key Messages," it was intended to alert them to issues about Pure North contained in AHS records that were to be released to CBC News under freedom of information.
Dr. Verna Yiu
A briefing note prepared for AHS Dr. Verna Yiu outlined concerns with the Pure North alternative health program.
Pure North at that time was seeking a total of $50 million in funding to "improve depression and anxiety in the homeless and those suffering from addictions in Calgary and Edmonton" through high-dose vitamin supplements and the removal of mercury-based dental fillings. The briefing note states there is "insufficient evidence" that either treatment works.
CBC News reported in early April that Alberta Health gave Pure North $10 million in December 2013, against the advice of ministry officials, to expand its program ultimately to thousands of Alberta seniors.
The briefing note specifically warns Hoffman and Yiu about an incident, identified by CBC News as occurring at the Calgary Drop-In Centre in 2013, in which AHS dietitians raised concerns about Pure North's supplement program.
"The concerns were about the potential for negative health effects [from the] non-evidence-based practice of providing megadoses of vitamins and minerals exceeding recommended levels," the briefing note states, adding an additional concern was that "the individuals offered these megadoses may not have the ability to properly assess the safety of what is being offered."
A Pure North spokesperson has said the foundation was not told about the drop-in centre incident. Despite the concerns of public health officials, Pure North points to research studies it says show the program is safe and effective.

Minister should be aware of risks

Dr. Alun Edwards, a senior AHS medical director, is quoted in the briefing note as saying the Pure North program "hits the borderline for appropriateness."
Cooper said it is "concerning" that AHS has detailed safety concerns with the Pure North program, yet Hoffman does not appear to be investigating them.
Nathan Cooper
Wildrose accountability critic Nathan Cooper says Hoffman needs to explain a briefing note that appears to contradict her public statements. (Legislative Assembly of Alberta)
"The minister absolutely must be aware of any risks or concerns with the ongoings of the program," he said. "She is the one that needs to be responsible to ensure that those who are engaged in the program are safe and receiving appropriate care."
When Hoffman became health minister in 2015, she refused, based on advice from her officials, to give Pure North more funding for its seniors program. But in October 2016, her ministry signed a grant with the foundation for a nurse-practitioner-led primary care clinic in Calgary. The grant is worth up to $4.2 million over several years.
Hoffman has insisted Pure North will not be offering any of its alternative-health treatments at its primary care clinic and it will not refer patients to its other program.
Cooper said the Wildrose will continue to press for answers from Hoffman in the legislature.
"We are seeing a track record from this government of a lack of openness and transparency" Cooper said. "And now we see the health department ducking and weaving on a very, very important issue of transparency."  




It is indeed troubling that folks at Alberta Health don't seem to have any background in science. Why is it that taxpayers pay for the lack of science background to the tune of first $10 million with the unproductive PCs and now with the NDP folks--$4.2 million has been handed out to the Pure North folks?
What are we? The research funding agency for inappropriate projects for politicians? It is entirely required that the Auditor General of Alberta do an audit on both the political donations to this organizations and elucidate for us -the decision making tree (if any) at Alberta Health. So far I see only real science being denied funding as in the lack of funds for the Biobank in Alberta while we have unproven alternative health programs get money for no other reason that i can determine other than for political expediency reasons-at least in the first donation of $10 million upfront.
No one has explained how vulnerable populations would be able to deduce that such alternative health programs might come with some health risks and thereby decline these programs.
I can't understand how the GOA could open the public to liability issues for no other reason than politicians make less than productive decisions to causes that don't seem to require our public funds.
Meanwhile a worthy cause which is the Biobank is being cut because of a lack of funds. Such short term thinking and such poor decision making impacts all citizens. It's very sad. http://www.edmontonsun.com/…/alberta-tumour-bank-reducing-s…
The Alberta Cancer Research Biobank, more commonly known as the “tumour bank,” has stopped taking new samples and laid off five staff members after seeing its budget cut by more than half.


Health Minister Sarah Hoffman either misled the legislature or her senior staff withheld critical information from her about health safety issues related to a…
CBC.CA

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