Ontario eHealth controversy links local figure

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

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eHealth Ontario FOI'd by CBC National
eHealth Ontario FOI'd by CBC National lists Dr. Penny JD Ballem Inc. as supplier

As part of my regular evening ritual I turn on CBC Newsworld every night around 9pm to catch The National with Peter Mansbridge. I've been watching this news program since I was no bigger than a mosquito bite back in the 'Peg, and last night was no different.

Last night they ran an excellent investigative story on some apparent shenanigans relating to eHealth Ontario and a number of contractors who received over 5 million dollars worth of untendered contracts. As many of our avid readers know, CityCaucus.com has also uncovered a story about untendered contracts at Vancouver City Hall.

What caught my attention was a name that popped up momentarily on the screen when CBC reporter Laurie Graham was talking about her story with Peter Mansbridge. That name was none other than "Dr. Penny JD Ballem Inc." As many of our avid readers know, Dr. Penny Ballem is now Vancouver's newly appointed City Manager.

Besides showing up on the FOI'd document, we're uncertain at this point as to how "Dr. Penny JD Ballem Inc" fits into the whole CBC ehealth Ontario story...if at all. That's why we went to CBC's website to locate a copy of the FOI'd materials in their entirety. Unfortunately, not all of the source documents for their story are online, as such our special FOI fund may be put to work again. That is unless the CBC would like to send us a copy of that page at citycaucus@gmail.com (hint).

If you watch the story, Graham profiles how tax dollars were paid to Michael Guerriere, a consultant who was charging $3,000 a day for his services. You will note the video CBC uses of Guerriere is of him speaking at a "Breakfast with the Chief." Coincidently, Ballem can also be seen here speaking at a similar "Breakfast with the Chief" event.

We will be watching the CBC investigation into eHealth Ontario to see where this all ends up and we'll keep our readers posted.

On an unrelated note, one of our astute readers pointed us in the direction of RPO Consultants. On their website they state:

We help healthcare executives successfully improve system performance through the development of innovative public policy and programs, the design and deployment of new service delivery models, and the targeted and disciplined use of funding to encourage continuous system improvement and sustainability. A particular strength is our deep experience in multi-party collaborative initiatives, reflected by an exceptionally strong track record in challenging projects requiring the productive partnership of payers and providers.

Under the heading of "Our People," Dr. Ballem is currently listed* as one of their senior advisors. We're uncertain if this is simply an outdated website, or if perhaps it relates to Dr. Ballem's employment contract with the City ofVancouver which permits her to keep running her medical practice. 

*UPDATE: since we posted this story, the RPO profile for Ms. Ballem has since been removed from their website. Stay tuned for more on this Monday.













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