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Bethania CEO put on leave during investigation

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Bethania Group’s board of directors has agreed to place its CEO Ray Koop on administrative leave while an independent investigator examines new allegations regarding the governance and management of its personal care homes.

Health Minister Theresa Oswald made the announcement this morning.

She said that since the release of a financial audit of the Bethania in March, several individuals have come forward with new concerns and allegations about the management of the facilities, including potential financial mismanagement, staff intimidation by management and nepotism.

"These new allegations are numerous and serious and must be investigated," Oswald said.

The government raised the new allegations with the board of Bethania, which agreed that an independent investigation was necessary, the province said this morning.

"We would like to assure all of our residents and their families that the Bethania board does take the concerns raised regarding governance and management at Bethania very seriously," said Jake Neufeld, board chair of the Bethania Group, in a prepared statement. "In good faith, we will work with the reviewer and Manitoba Health to achieve a speedy resolution."

Oswald said the board of Bethania Group has also agreed to cancel its new contract with Koop. The province had said the increase in pay he received contravened a government freeze on executive pay. Bethania has agreed to pay back any monies it wrongly paid to Koop.

Oswald said the Bethania board also agreed to comply with all of the recommendations of the earlier provincial audit.

Bethania Group is an independently run Mennonite and Christian-centred personal care home and housing operation. It receives $9.5 million in annual government funding to operate its two care homes.

In accordance with Section 56 of the Regional Health Authority Act, the minister is appointing an independent investigator to review the new allegations about Bethania and provide staff with "a safe, confidential way to report their concerns," the province said in a release.

Inspections of the facilities by Manitoba Health show that care at the two personal care homes – on Pembina Highway and Concordia Avenue – continue to meet provincial standards, the minister said.

She said the results of the investigation will be made public.. Information about the investigation process and confidential contact information for the investigator will be posted by next week at www.gov.mb.ca/health/bethania.

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