With Ontario about halfway through allocating more than 30,000 long-term care beds, health-care advocates are concerned the majority of those beds are going to for-profit homes.
Thunder Bay Health Coalition co-chairperson Jules Tupker spoke with news media on Wednesday stating the majority of long-term bed licence renewals — more than 16,000 — are being allocated to for-profit companies. About three-quarters of those beds have gone to 10 large companies.
Northwestern Ontario is a bit more fortunate, said Tupker, with most of the new beds allocated in the region to non-profit care homes or hospitals.
However, Southbridge Lakehead Manor in Thunder Bay received renewal licences for 131 beds and 29 new beds.
Tupker said Southbridge has the highest pandemic death rate in the province at nine residents per 100.
Three Southbridge homes in the city are currently dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks, as well as three resident home areas of Hogarth Riverview Manor, which is a not-for-profit long-term care facility operated by St. Joseph’s Care Group.
Tupker said the health coalition feels the care given to residents in non-profit facilities is much better than in for-profit homes.
“We have some real concerns,” said Tupker, noting that some corporations are the leaders of deaths in their homes and they are now the leaders of having long-term care beds allocated to them.
The bed licenses are also for 30-year contracts.
“If we give them to for-profit homes, they will have them for 30 years,” said Tupker. “If there is a problem, and we know there is a problem, they’re not going to be able to correct that for 30 years.”