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Changes to long-term care funding impacting Victoria Manor

Posted: July 15, 2019

(July 12, 2019)

By: Catherine Whitnall, Kawartha Lakes This Week

City of Kawartha Lakes to lose $68,000 in government support and see the end of two funding programs, valued at $79,625, for 2019

The city of Kawartha Lakes is being hit by Ford government funding cuts to long-term care, but the impact isn’t quite as bad as other municipalities.

The provincial government has increased the per diem rate for long-term care homes by one per cent, but it’s less than what municipalities were anticipating. The city, for example had budgeted a two-per-cent increase for nursing and personal care, program and support services and raw food. Receiving half this amount will have a budgetary impact of $51,245.

The funding changes follow notification by the Central East Local Health Integration Network back in June regarding revised funding rates and changes to other funding programs.

According to Director of Human Services Rod Sutherland, the total net impact to Victoria Manor’s budget for 2019 will be about $68,000.

“The impact of these changes is partially offset for 2019 by approximately $65,000 due to other minor funding adjustments,” stated Sutherland.

The cuts include the cancellation of two programs as of Aug. 1: the Structural Compliance program and the high-wage transition fund.

Since April 1, 1998, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has paid a compliance per diem to long-term care homes ineligible to receive Ministry funding to upgrade facilities. The city has allocated this funding, $151,476 annually, as the Victoria Manor capital program. A review of this program will now occur.

The transition fund was introduced on April 1, 1996, as a three-year, temporary transition measure to assist operators in maintaining equitable service levels while higher than average wage costs were addressed. It’s elimination will see a loss of $16,130 for Victoria Manor.

The Ontario Health Coalition is very concerned over not only the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding per year for municipalities but the impact on an already stressed system.

“The significant and dangerous problems that arise in long-term care all stem from not staffing long-term care homes adequately. There is deep consensus among family groups, resident and advocacy groups, unions, health professionals and nurses that the care levels were already too low to meet current care needs before these cuts,” states Coalition Executive Director Natalie Mehra. “Instead of improving conditions for the vulnerable in our society, Ford is doing the opposite.”

Despite the cuts — and not knowing the impact for 2020 — city staff have recommended to council that no significant program or service changes be made this year. It will be reviewed during next year’s operating budget development.

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