Former Edmonton health CEO to repay Albertans for private care

A former Alberta health official who signed off on private care for a colleague at public expense will repay the money.

Sheila Weatherill, the former CEO of Edmonton's Capital Health Region, has notified the province by letter that she will send it a cheque for $7,800.

The money will cover the funds paid for Michele Lahey, who was a Capital Health vice-president at the time, to get a second opinion on her cancer tests at the prestigious private Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in 2007.

Lahey has said it was Weatherill's idea to send her to the Mayo.

In the letter to Health Minister Fred Horne, Weatherill said while she did not agree with Lahey's explanation of events, having Capital Health pay for her assessment was "an error."

"As CEO at the time, I take responsibility for this extraordinary event and I apologize to the people of Alberta."

She went on to praise Alberta's health-care system and its doctors.

"I regret the implication that this event may suggest and I apologize to Alberta health professionals who may have taken offense," she wrote in the letter.

Weatherill's letter came the same day Horne wrote to Allan Wachowich, former chief justice of Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, for advice on recovering the money.

Horne asked Wachowich to prepare a report on whether the government can recover any improper expenses claimed by and paid to employees of the former regional health authorities or current or former employees of Alberta Health Services.

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