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

In the summer of 1950, a dramatic highway sign made an impact

The Manning Park Gallows featured a 10-foot-long cigarette in a noose to warn about forest fires

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Sunflower Highway, art initiative to connect Fraser Valley, Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan

Sunflowers made out of reclaimed materials will be installed on public art trails

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read