Since signing the contract with an American consultant in 2011, the provincial government has doled out close to $1 million for his hotel bills.
The contractor is John Black and Associates (JBA), who was signed up to reform Saskatchewan health care through lean – a system to streamline health services and cut costs.
Since the 2011-12 budget year, Black and his colleagues’ flights, hotels, per diems and other miscellaneous travel expenses have collectively cost Saskatchewan taxpayers $2.5 million.
NDP Leader Cam Broten called the amount “obscene.”
And while Health Minister Dustin Duncan admitted “it’s a lot of money,” he said it was important to put it into the context of building up lean expertise in the province so Saskatchewan doesn’t “have to rely on those outside consultants.”
The government knew from the outset it would be spending $40 million on the JBA contract and that “travel was going to be a part of that,” Duncan said.
“This whole journey into lean is a part of trying to make the (health) system more sustainable.”
Whatâ€™s next, adding Alison Redford to the cabinet?
I am actually not opposed to lean in the same way that others are. Â I have read a fair amount about it and have seen what it can do for healthcare. Â There were some excellent videos from the Saskatoon Health Region that show how hospital units have saved time, money, and improved patient care. Â Those small things add up.
At the same time could the Saskatchewan Party have picked a more polarizing consultant? Â $1m for hotel bills. Â $2.5m for flight and travel. Â What kind of hotels are they staying in. Â Even at $250 a night, that is over a decade of hotel rooms and all since 2011. Â As @toddintune (who just did the math and tweeted), maybe we need to get the lean consultant a lean consultant to lower hotel costs.