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Proposed New Long Term Care Act
October 3, 2006
TORONTO (October 3, 2006) - The Ontario government today introduced a new Long-Term Care Homes Act that will govern all long term care homes in the province, and the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS) welcomes this important undertaking as an opportunity to make lasting enhancements to the system.
The Bill will consolidate three separate laws --- the Nursing Homes Act which governs not-for-profit and for-profit nursing homes; the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act which governs not-for-profit homes operated by municipalities; and the Charitable Institutions Act which governs not-for-profit homes operated by charitable organizations.
"We see this as an opportunity to build a true partnership in which all parties work together to ensure the best possible care and quality of life for residents of long term care homes in Ontario," said Donna Rubin, CEO of OANHSS.
OANHSS is disappointed that the Act does not contain a strong statement of support for the not-for-profit sector. OANHSS wants the legislation to commit the province to preserving, protecting, and promoting not-for-profit long term care. This is needed because of the increasing imbalance in the system and the loss of choice such a shift entails. A decade ago, about half of all long term care beds were operated on a not-for-profit basis. Today, they account for only about 48 per cent of the total.
"The preservation and promotion of the not-for-profit sector is entirely consistent with the government's expressed support for the public delivery of health services," said Rubin.
The Bill places great emphasis on compliance and enforcement matters. These are important issues, but OANHSS would also like to see a system of incentives for homes that are top performers in providing care to residents.
"What we do not need is an overly restrictive environment that saps the creativity of the sector. The new Act must also foster innovation and excellence. Many of the not-for-profit homes go above and beyond minimum standards, and the government should encourage this through incentives," said Rubin.
When new standards or requirements are introduced in the future, OANHSS wants government to ensure that long term care homes are provided with the human and financial resources needed to meet the new expectations.
"All parties have responsibilities, and government must do its part to make certain that homes are not impeded by lack of resources. Establishing new standards, but not providing the means to achieve them, is only a prescription for failure," noted Rubin.
OANHSS wishes to remind the current government of its commitment to increasing operating funding by $6,000 per resident. Over the past three years, the increase has totaled only about $2,000 per resident.
If the renewal of licenses is conditional on structural compliance, the government should also assist homes with a capital renewal program.
"The proposed Act is a major development for our sector, and we will be working closely with government to ensure that the new legislation best meets the needs of residents, both today and into the future," said Rubin.
OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include municipal and charitable long term care homes, non-profit nursing homes, seniors' housing projects and community service agencies. Member organizations operate over 26,000 long term care beds and over 5,000 seniors' housing units across the province.
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