Moe gov’t redacts cost breakdown in Sask. Party donor surgery contracts

REGINA - Today, the Official Opposition released controversial contracts between the Moe government and a Sask. Party donor hired to perform surgeries in Alberta. The government redacted key details like extra fees and procedure costs, prompting calls for transparency.

“This province used to be a nation-leader when it came to healthcare,” said Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck. “Saskatchewan people rightly expect that their tax dollars support Saskatchewan health workers and Saskatchewan hospitals, not Sask. Party donors in Calgary.”

Canadian Surgical Solutions, the Alberta company doing business with the Moe government, donated over $14,000 to the Sask. Party through a subsidiary. The company holds two separate sole-source contracts: one to perform knee and hip procedures in Calgary and the other to perform mammograms in Calgary.

The Moe government redacted the sections of the contracts that list the cost for each procedure, the cost of additional services - like ultrasounds, radiologist image review or the transfer of results to Saskatchewan - and the cost of other extra fees for things like “administration” and possible cancellations. 

“It’s a bit of a stretch for the minister to say this information is commercially sensitive when we’re talking about special sole-source deals without any other competitors,” said Health Critic Vicki Mowat. “I think the fact these numbers are redacted tells us everything you need to know about the Sask. Party. The old boys club at the Legislature isn’t working for the people of Saskatchewan.” 

Last year, only 90 knee and hip procedures were performed in Alberta under this private surgical scheme, despite the Health Minister claiming that the $6 million sole-source contract would cover 250 procedures. The latest national data shows that Saskatchewan still has the longest average wait times in Canada for knee and hip replacements. 

The cost of the mammogram deal also raises red flags. Although the Moe government previously stated that Surgical Solutions is being paid approximately $2,000 per patient, private clinics in Ontario and British Columbia charge between $140 and $430 for mammograms according to the Canadian Breast Cancer Network.

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