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More people dying of coronavirus in for-profit LTC homes than publicly-owned

Posted: May 8, 2020

(May 7, 2020)

By: News Staff, City News

More people appear to be dying of coronavirus in for-profit long-term-care homes, compared to publicly-owned facilities, according to a new analysis released Thursday by health care advocates.

The Ontario Health Coalition looked at death rates in 93 Ontario nursing homes with outbreaks of COVID-19 that resulted in deaths.

When comparing the number of beds in each home to the number of COVID-19 deaths, they found the mortality rate in for-profit homes was nine per cent.

That compares to just over five per cent in non-profit homes, and less than four per cent in publicly-owned homes.

The rates of death have also increased faster in for-profit homes than in non-profits, while rates in publicly-owned facilities actually dropped between late April and early May.

“We can never forget that these death rates are cold hard numbers but they represent real human beings: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers,” Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, said in a release.

“The differences between the death rates in for-profit versus non-profit and public long-term care raises momentous questions about the different practices regarding staffing, working conditions and wages, levels of care, and profit-taking.”

The study’s lead author, Rabbi Shalom Schachter, said the data showsfor-profit homes have a much worse record than public and non-profit homes.

He said changes are needed to the current model of delivering long term care, and the overhaul should respond to the ways that ownership impacts quality and outcomes of care.

“Already even prior to COVID-19 it has been recognized that the current model of delivering long term care has to be overhauled,” Rabbi Schachter explained.

“The pandemic has brought to the fore the consequences of the current model. The overhaul should respond to the ways that ownership impacts quality and outcomes of care.”

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