Tuesday, January 4, 2022

LTC Homes: Ownership Matters

Nancy Olivieri, Michael Hurley, Vivian Stamatopoulos, and Natalie Mehra explained Doug Ford's sneaky passing of Bill 37 just before Christmas in today's Toronto Star.  They warn, "Hope to live out your old age in dignity and comfort? Think again." 

Ford doesn't want us to know what's been stolen from Ontarians. This bill "smooths the way for billions of public dollars to be funnelled to for-profit LTC for another generation," allowing Ford to promote for-profit ownership and issue new licenses to operators with terrible records. 

Covid-19 has exacerbated problems in LTC homes, but the problems were already quietly brewing: 

"Decades of tax-funded incentives aimed at improving for-profit facilities were offered to their operators--and were declined. . . . for-profit LTC is worse than that in publicly run facilities, across a range of outcomes. Owners siphon off revenue to shareholders, spend 24% less on direct care, have fewer staff and lower pay compared with non-profits, and fail to deliver on standards of care. . . . Ford confirmed plans to allocate thousands of new beds in 30-year licenses to for-profit companies, including to operators of homes in which the military exposed hideous examples of neglect . . . paid for by public taxes, and by residents' fees."  

He also dramatically decreased surprise inspections. Only 1.4% of the homes were inspected since Ford took power, and homes exposed for gross neglect didn't face fines or lose their license. 

The hope: "The OHC is supporting a challenge against Ford awarding of licenses to the for-profits chains, to ensure that the tragedy of over 4,000 vulnerable people--many of whom died alone, hungry, and lying in filth in for-profit LTC--never happens again." 

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