Paul Schneidereit has written a staggering investigative piece in The Chronicle Heraldabout the bid process for a new electronic health records system for Nova Scotia. Read it here:
Schneidereit’s work raises enough questions to call for the current bid process to be halted and restarted.
The fact that EPIC Systems Corp., a strong, experienced industry leader, was excluded from consideration because their submission was delivered to the wrong office in the right building seems morally wrong and not in the best interests of Nova Scotians.
According to the article the submission arrived ahead of deadline. Workers who discovered the delivery mistake made multiple attempts to contact the Nova Scotia Procurement Office to arrange pick-up of the documents. EPIC’s proposal was rejected because Nova Scotia Procurement said it was late. However, it was only late because no one in the Procurement Office bothered to return their phone messages. How is it in the public interest to have a key industry supplier rejected because some bureaucrat wouldn’t answer their phone or walk to a neighbouring office?
This could be a billion dollar expenditure for the taxpayer. How do we trust that we are considering the best system when a key player is excluded because of bureaucratic pettiness? Who is responsible for this failure to act and do they still have a job? And if so, why?
Further, what assurances have we that rejecting a supplier on such a thin basis doesn’t reduce competition and increase our cost?
If we are to believe that the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the Department of Health are working in the best interest of Nova Scotians this bid process should be cancelled and restarted so that the people of Nova Scotia can trust that what we are buying is truly the best system for us. Under the current conditions we cannot have that faith in the process or NSHA. Executive platitudes about due diligence and evidence-based decision-making doesn’t cut it anymore.
And in the interest of transparency, the 32 people from the NSHA, IWK, Department of Health, Internal Services, Finance & Treasury Board and Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal, who are overseeing this process should publicly declare that they have no shares, bonds, mutual funds or other investments in the companies being considered.