Will the Minister of Health ensure the quality care seniors deserve?

Oct 5, 2023 | 42-4, Blog, Governance, Legislature, Question Period, Video | 0 comments

British Columbia Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie released her second report Billions More Reasons to Care outlining the dramatic differences in the delivery of publicly funded care for seniors in long-term care facilities.

You can learn more here.

In summary, the report shows that for-profit long-term care facilities delivered 500,000 less hours of care than they were contracted to deliver and pocketed 7x more profit than their non-profit counterparts.

In Question Period, I noted that under the watch of Minister of Health, Hon. Adrian Dix more public services are delivered by corporations who, in this case, view the care of our Elders as a profit centre.

I asked the Minister if he was prepared to implement all four recommendations of the report. He was non-committal.


A. Olsen: Last week, B.C. seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie released a report, Billions More Reasons to Care. It’s a follow up to her 2020 report, A Billion Reasons to Care, about the use of public funds in contracted long-term-care homes.

At the time, the Minister of Health said: “This has been the best two years of reform in seniors care, but I would say we’ve got a long way to go.”

The second report shows not-for-profit facilities delivered 93,000 more hours of direct care than they were funded to deliver, and for-profits delivered 500,000 hours less care than they were funded to deliver in 2021-2022.

To the Minister of Health: what does he think about the findings of this report?

Hon. A. Dix: The report demonstrates the effectiveness of the action taken. When I became Minister of Health in 2017 — this is in the seniors advocate’s report — 85 percent of care homes didn’t meet provincial standards. Today they all do.

It was a very difficult time during COVID-19 in long-term care. But B.C.’s record was the best in Canada because we worked with all providers, public and private, to ensure the quality of care.

We brought in wage levelling to raise up standards for workers in long-term care. And yes, we got rid of Bills 29 and 94, which discriminated against health care workers during that time.

Mr. Speaker: Third Party House leader, supplemental.

A. Olsen: Well, the minister doesn’t address the hundreds of thousands of hours of funded care that are not being delivered by the for-profit market. In fact, under this minister’s watch, we’ve seen more of these public services shift into the hands of corporations who are viewing the people of this province — in this case, our elders — as a commodity and a profit centre.

This latest report found that for-profit centres spent 60 cents more per bed on building costs than the not-for-profit facilities, and for-profit facilities earned seven times as much profit as their not for-profit counterparts.

These are publicly funded services, and the report outlines four recommendations. One, ensuring that funding is spent on care. Two, improve monitoring and reporting for compliance. Three, define profit, and four, make revenues and expenditures for publicly funded care homes available to the public.

To the Minister of Health: will he immediately implement all of these recommendations?

Hon. A. Dix: In fact, we are putting in place a contract model working with all providers — public, non-profit and for-profit providers — working together as we did during COVID-19.

[2:35 p.m.]

With respect to investment in public care, however, in the ten years before I became Minister of Health, over ten years, health capital funding for long-term care was $17.8 million over ten years or $1.78 million a year.

In our current plan, it’s $2.039 billion.

We are building new projects in this region, in Abbotsford, in the Interior. In the North, coming, we are adding service, in addition to that, through our HCAP program — more than 6,500 new health care workers.

One of the key ways that you ensure funded beds and carers at the bedside is to train health care workers, and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.


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