B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix listens as Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie speaks about her ongoing work to improve services. (B.C. government)

For-profit senior care homes spend less on staff, B.C. advocate says

Isobel Mackenzie and Adrian Dix focus on private and public care

For-profit senior care facilities in B.C. spend 49 per cent of revenues on direct care, compared to 59 per cent for non-profit care homes contracted to the provincial health ministry, B.C.’s Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie says in a new report.

The performance audit is the first formal examination of contracted care since NDP MLA Adrian Dix was appointed health minister in 2017 and tackled the sector’s labour relations and care delivery standards.

Mackenzie found that with $1.3 billion in contracts in place with B.C. health regions, there is insufficient reporting to compare “management fees, head office allocation and some administrative costs.”

Reporting of direct care hours depends on “self-reported unaudited expense reports prepared by the care home operators, with no ability to verify the reported worked hours,” Mackenzie said as she released the report, entitled A Billion Reasons to Care, Tuesday.

Despite the reporting gaps, Mackenzie was able to calculate that not-for-profit homes spend an average of $10,000 or 24 per cent more per year on care for each resident. For-profit care homes “failed to deliver 207,000 funded direct care home hours” during the survey period, while not-for-profit operators “exceeded direct care hour targets by delivering an additional 80,000 hours of direct care beyond what they were publicly funded to deliver,” the report finds.

The report says the difference in spending is partly due to care aide wages in for-profit care homes, where they can be paid as much as 28 per cent or $6.63 per hour less than the industry standard.

RELATED: B.C. seniors need better vaccine protection, advocate says

RELATED: Seniors Advocate finds holes in B.C. home support

Bringing care home delivery hours up to the province’s own standard has been a major focus for Dix, along with expanding care provided directly by regional health authorities.

Currently 33 per cent of publicly funded long-term care beds are operated by B.C.’s regional health authorities. For-profit contractors operate 35 per cent, and not-for-profit societies are responsible for the other 32 per cent.

The budget for long-term care services in B.C. is about $2 billion per year, with $1.3 billion of that spent in the contracted sector.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureSeniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Hydro opens applications for COVID-19 Relief Fund to residential customers

Small business owners will be able to apply to the fund next week.

Northern B.C. charity rolling out COVID-19 relief funds soon

United Way of Northern BC say funding requests are outweighing the amount of donations received.

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

COVID-19 world update: 6.6 million U.S. jobless claims; alcohol sales banned in Bangkok

Comprehensive digest of coronavirus news items from around the world

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read