Government & policy
Mounties investigating telemedicine
VICTORIA, B.C. –
The RCMP are investigating Dr. Jonathan Burns (pictured), known in the
health IT sector for pioneering a wound-care telehealth application, and
Ron Danderfer, a senior health bureaucrat in British Columbia.
In a 99-page search warrant application, the RCMP allege former
assistant deputy health minister Danderfer committed breach of trust by
approving inflated invoices from Dr. Burns.
Police further allege Dr. Burns provided a number of benefits for Mr.
Danderfer – a senior and long-serving bureaucrat in charge of B.C.’s
electronic health initiative – including a four-night stay in Dr.
Burns’s Kelowna condominium, and employment for his daughter and his
wife, Joan Danderfer, also a veteran provincial civil servant. In the
February warrant, the RCMP allege Mr. Danderfer committed breach of
The RCMP allege in the warrant Dr. Burns double-billed the B.C.
government with Mr. Danderfer’s knowledge, and that the senior
bureaucrat counselled the consultant to inflate invoices and pushed for
the acceptance of a $3.75-million contract with the University of
British Columbia that would benefit Dr. Burns’s company.
John Waddell, the special prosecutor in the case, said the complex
investigation, which initially focused on non-tendered contracts
involving Mr. Danderfer and Dr. Burns, eventually led to a separate
probe into contracts involving Dr. Burns, the Fraser Health Authority
and the work of James Roy Taylor, an IT manager with Fraser Health.
The warrant alleges Mr. Taylor and Dr. Burns defrauded Fraser Health of
$251,348.40 from 2003 to 2006 through fraudulent invoices submitted by
Dr. Burns’s company.
The RCMP allege Dr. Burns allowed Mr. Taylor and his family to use the
Kelowna condominium, and also employed Mr. Taylor’s wife and daughter.
Mr. Taylor is alleged to have committed fraud. Dr. Burns is alleged to
have committed a total of four fraud and influence-related offences from
his interactions with Mr. Danderfer and Mr. Taylor.
The RCMP’s allegations have not resulted in charges, nor have the
allegations been proven in court. Mr. Waddell, a Victoria lawyer who was
appointed as the special prosecutor 18 months ago, said the
investigation is “virtually complete” and he will likely decide within a
month whether charges should be laid.
Posted October 22, 2009