Queue-jumping inquiry to shift focus

Taking stage Monday at a public inquiry is what role, if any, the University of Calgary played in a queue-jumping scandal that occurred on its property and allegedly involved a high-ranking employee.

Dr. Ron Bridges, an associate dean in the faculty of medicine, is to testify in Calgary about his involvement with the privately run Helios Wellness Centre.

Clerks and doctors have already testified at the preferential health access hearing about a queue-jumping scheme they allege ran from 2008 to 2012.

The inquiry has heard how patients paid $10,000 each a year to join Helios, a private clinic that dispenses yoga, diet and exercise advice, and rents office space from the university. The non-profit group directed $200,000 or more a year to the university's faculty of medicine, primarily to pay for scholarships for medical residents.

It has been alleged by witnesses that associate dean Bridges, with help from others, arranged to have Helios patients moved to the front of the line for colon cancer tests at the Forzani and MacPhail Colon Cancer Screening Centre, which rents space from the university but is funded and operated by the province.

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