Did you know that the BC Government is developing a new standardized funding model for long-term care?
According to documents released to the Vancouver Sun through a freedom of information request, the Ministry of Health has been involved in a rigorous review process to address the current lack of consistency in how BC funds nearly 300 publicly-funded care homes.
A new model is essential to move towards consistent quality of care standards and accountability around use of public funds.
We can’t afford to miss this opportunity to bring much needed systemic changes. That’s why our Seniors’ Care Accountability Campaign will set out clear demands for what older adults, caregivers, health care workers, and allies expect to see in provincial standards.
We’re worried about who is involved – and not involved – in developing the new provincial funding model. The documents released to the Vancouver Sun revealed that the Ministry of Health has contracted Ernst & Young to lead the review. Sound familiar?
The corporate consulting firm, known as EY, is the same firm the Province hired to lead a review of the Ministry of Health’s long-term care COVID-19 response. When the review report was released in October of 2020, the process was criticized for its close ties to the for-profit long-term care industry and for failing to adequately engage health care workers and community. EY provided no explanation of how stakeholders were selected, and, when questioned, the private firm claimed it was “not able to comment on client work”. The Ministry of Health also declined to comment on the subject.
Developing a standardized funding model for long-term care is too important a process to take place behind closed doors, protected by the privacy awarded by private consulting contracts. We need transparency towards the public in this process as well as the active inclusion of groups representing seniors, workers, and communities. The public needs to know that the new funding formula is based on research and evidence, not political negotiations and compromise.
A standardized and transparent funding model should ensure:
- Public money intended for the care of seniors is spent on the care of seniors by requiring that all contracted long-term care facilities that receive public money, both not-for-profit and for-profit, clearly and publicly report revenues and expenditures.
- Public money is not kept as profit by requiring that all surplus funds be spent on the care of seniors or be returned.
- All publicly funded long-term care operators are required to be part of the same public sector master collective agreement, and exploitative sub-contracting practices are banned.
- Funding for new builds cannot be used to pay for infrastructure that will be owned as assets by private operators in the long run.