Toronto geriatric hospital lets 150 workers go over alleged benefits fraud

Henrietta Strickland
July 12, 2019

Baycrest Health Sciences said the losses are estimated at $4 million to $5 million, but the final tally - including the cost of unravelling the mess, hiring replacement staff, and implementing preventative measures - has yet to be calculated.

The National Post reported that the hospital operates its own employee benefits plan from a pool funded 75 per cent by the government of Ontario and 25 per cent from employee premiums.

The North York hospital said that in some cases, employees were allegedly submitting claims for services or products they never received, while in others, a claim for something like compression stockings was actually used to buy a purse.

The prominent geriatric facility on Bathurst St. said in a statement emailed to the Star that concerns about misuse of health-care benefits arose past year.

The hospital says further investigation revealed numerous employees had been misusing the benefits plan for several years.

The audit, Baycrest says, found "irregularities".

The statement said the employees involved "spanned a variety of job categories". "We then conducted a workplace investigation which found that a significant number of employees were misusing our benefits plan over the course of a number of years". The upshot, Baycrest said, was that about 150 people to date had either been fired or resigned.

"We are extremely disappointed by these findings", Baycrest said in a statement. "We view any misuse of our benefits plan as inconsistent with our policies and procedures and incompatible with our Baycrest values".

Press Secretary of the Minister of health of Ontario Christine Elliott said: "it is Clear that the shortcomings of the audits have allowed this kind of blatant abuse to stay too long out of control".

"We want to assure our residents, patients and their families that we have a comprehensive plan created to ensure adequate levels of staff and maintain the quality of our services" - said in a statement.

"Minister Elliot made it clear that there will be no violations in patient care, as these issues are resolved". The Post account contains a number of hair-raising interviews with perpetrators and a police comment that there is unlikely to be any criminal action unless the hospital makes a formal complaint.

The press Secretary added that the state money allocated Baycrest, is spent on "providing exemplary medical care to the society we serve".

Baycrest said it plans to have its external benefits administrator conduct additional audits.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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