Names: Enterprise Universal Inc.; Holy Cross Surgical Services.
Location: EUI bought the former Holy Cross Hospital in 1997 for $4.5 million, a fire sale price even after the health authority removed all the medical equipment. The hospital had recently undergone $35 million in renovations. The for-profit operation has a 25,000 square foot surgical facility, four operating rooms, a five-bed recovery room and the possibility of five more operating rooms.
Owners: EUI shareholders are eye specialist Dr. Peter Huang, division chief of ophthalmology for the Calgary Health Authority; his brother, ear nose and throat specialist Dr. Ian Huang and three others. Peter and Ian Huang are directors of EUI. Holy Cross Surgical Services is a partnership between Peter T. Huang Professional Corporation and Ian T. Huang Professional Corporation. The Calgary Health Authority notes that Dr. Peter Huang has been excluded from all [Request For Proposals] deliberations and decision making relating to the commercial selection process.
Services for sale: Holy Cross Surgical Services holds the health authoritys largest contract a two-year, $5 million eye surgery deal. The contract expires September 30, 2002. The health authority can renew the contract for another year. In the first year of the contract, Holy Cross Surgical Services performed 2,810 cataract procedures and 1,082 non-cataract procedures.
The corporation also has a $400,000 contract for dental surgery, and through a joint venture with Extendicare is expanding into a long-term care contract with the health authority. Dr. Huangs private clinic was chosen for the Calgary Regional Health Authoritys first facility contract for eye surgery in 1995, performing about 1,600 surgeries a year at the Foothills Hospital. When the health authority decided the following year to contract out all the regions cataract surgery to for-profit clinics, Huangs clinic got another share. In 1997, Huang became the regions division chief of ophthalmology. Between 1998 and 2000, Holy Cross Surgical Services performed 7,122 surgical procedures.
Well-investigated interests: Dr. Peter Huangs operations have been the subject of two internal reviews at the CRHA. A 1998 study scrutinized the process of allocating cataract surgeries to private clinics. Dr. Huang, in his position as ophthalmology division head, appointed the six members of the committee allocating cataract surgeries.
The review pointed to potential and apparent conflict of interest and suggested that the surgery allocation process lacked transparency. The review found no actual conflict of interest the situation had recently changed, removing Dr. Huang from a position where he could directly influence the awarding of eye operations to his or other clinics. However, the review found his ongoing role as division chief in
appointing committee members limited the necessary distance of the arms length relationship between the Division Head and allocation process, regardless of the personal integrity of committee members.
A review of the Holy Cross sale was sparked in the same year, following a health authority proposal that the eye clinic at the Rockyview General Hospital move to the recently-sold Holy Cross. The review found a lack of formal processes to identify and avoid conflict of interest. There was little documentation of the decision-making process, according to the review, which also noted a preferred solution was obvious. The health authority did not move its ophthalmology clinic to one location, instead dividing the surgeries among several clinics including Dr. Huangs.
Follow the money: Drs. Peter, John and Ian Huang, all shareholders of EUI, as well as Enterprise Universal Inc., donated a total of $19,350.34 to the Alberta Tories between 1994 and 1999. Alberta Premier Ralph Klein commended the Huangs in the Alberta legislature in 1996, saying they are doing an outstanding job and have taken pressure off the hospitals and are performing a phenomenal number of cataract operations. Extendicare, which has formed a long-term care partnership with EUI, donated $17,000 to the Tories between 1995 and 1999.