IWK looks to refurbish image after a scandal-plagued year
A mother and son shared the impact of the IWK on their lives at the hospital's annual general meeting Wednesday. There is much to celebrate: life-saving and improving quality of life care, but this past year, the institution itself faced a critical situation.
“It was a year of some challenge and change,” said interim president and chief executive officer Dr. Krista Jangaard. “It was also a year of great accomplishment and a lot of celebration.”
The IWK was rocked by the abrupt departure of former CEO Tracy Kitch following an expense scandal that revealed Kitch had used a corporate credit card to expense things like limo rentals and movie tickets. Money that she subsequently repaid. The hospital's chief financial officer, Stephen D'Arcy also resigning in the wake of the scandal.
Karen Hutt, the IWK board chair, said the problem did not stem from a lack of policy.
“It was an issue of specific incidents that needed to be dealt with,” she said.
Despite that, it has been a year of healing and hard work to resuscitate the reputation of the organization.
While the focus at today's meeting was about moving ahead, and putting the scandal behind them, it remains on-going.
The financial crime unit of Halifax Regional Police continues to investigate.
The auditor general is also working on a review.
But for staff, their daily focus is on the job.
“Ireally think the staff here just stayed focused on why we’re here, what we do, who we serve, who we have to teach,” said Joselyn Vine, the IWK’s vice-president patient care and chief nurse executive. “It's very grounding and it helps to prevent any distractions.”
The hospital board and foundation along with its staff are celebrating a new neo-natal intensive unit and community support following a record breaking IWK fundraising telethon.
The hospital board launched their search for a new CEO a month ago and hopes to announce an official replacement by fall.
The new CEO's first order of business may be to address the outstanding police and auditor general reports.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Marie Adsett.