OHA hospital executive contracts to be released tomorrow

When it comes to Ontario’s hospital executives, you may not have to wait for the Sunshine lists to find out how much they are earning.

Tomorrow the Ontario Hospital Association says its members will be posting executive contracts on their hospital web sites rather than wait for an avalanche of Freedom of Information requests.

Hospitals became subject to FOI requests January 1, 2012.

The contracts will have much more detail in them than the information contained in the Sunshine lists, including retirement and severance provisions.

The posting follows the recent controversy over executive compensation at ORNGE, the provincial air ambulance service.

ORNGE had maintained executive salaries didn’t have to be disclosed given the publicly-funded and non-profit ORNGE also operated a series of for-profit shell companies. The Toronto Star revealed that ORNGE’s founder and president Chris Mazza was earning $1.4 million per year, making him the second highest paid public sector executive behind Thomas Mitchell, the chief executive of Ontario Power Generation ($1.8 million).

It was also revealed by The Star that ORNGE spent $600,000 on executive MBA programs for several top executives, including one who did most of her studies in Germany and Belgium.

While the OHA is happy to open up the contracts to scrutiny, the hospitals will still be exempt from releasing certain quality of care information after last spring’s Bill 173 passed through the legislature.

The OHA contends the amendment to FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) was necessary to protect the “culture of safety” in the hospital by allowing health care teams to “talk openly and freely about patient safety and quality improvement.” Critics contend the wording in the exemption is broad enough to allow hospitals to hide substantial quality information from public access.

In November the OHA released a report of the so-called “independent” expert panel on executive compensation in the hospital sector.  The panel included John Manley, President and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, who many believe to be less than “independent” in such matters.

See our story on the panel report here.

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