Budget 2019: OMNI happy with gov’t investment in LTC redevelopment, but more details are needed

Funding levels will need to match rising construction, utility, maintenance and other costs, says OMNI CEO Patrick McCarthy

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says the organization is pleased with the announcement in the 2019-20 budget that the Ontario government will be committing $1.75 billion in annual funding over the next five years to support 30,000 new and upgraded beds. However, funding levels will need to match rising construction, utility, maintenance and property costs as well as increasing municipal tax burdens that arise as a result of redevelopment, he adds.

The Ford government tabled its 2019-20 budget April 11.

The Ontario government introduced its long-term-care-home renewal strategy in 2014 as a multiyear plan to support the renewal of 30,000 beds by 2025. The plan includes the addition of 15,000 new long-term care beds and the renewal of 15,000 beds.

But in order for long-term care providers to make good on the plan there will need to be more detailed information on strategies to address these costs, McCarthy says.

“We understand that ongoing funding will be adjusted to account for general inflation, but we really don’t know if there will be any other provisions to support homes facing dramatic increases in construction and redevelopment costs,” McCarthy tells The OMNIway.

“We have limited knowledge of specifics, so we are awaiting further news on that front.”

OMNI has a stake in the province’s long-term-care home renewal strategy. In 2018, the province announced that OMNI would receive funding for the redevelopment of four of its homes: Riverview Manor, Pleasant Meadow Manor, Almonte Country Haven and Woodland Villa.

Through the funding, Pleasant Meadow Manor in Norwood has been approved for an additional 35 beds, Almonte Country Haven in Lanark County will be adding 14 beds and Woodland Villa in Long Sault will be adding 17 beds. Funding has also been approved to build a new 160-bed Riverview Manor in Peterborough. Riverview Manor is currently home to 124 residents.

Country Terrace in Komoka has subsequently received eight additional beds to support a 128-bed redevelopment and expansion to the existing home.

Construction on the initial four projects is scheduled to start in the fall and be complete by December 2022.

The commitment to the expansion of long-term care capacity and redevelopment 2018-19 budget places attention to supporting the redevelopment of small, rural long-term care homes. As a provider of many such homes, OMNI is hoping that small and rural communities will be supported in this process in addition to support for urban centres, McCarthy says.

“We are hopeful that the government will, in rolling out the redevelopment of homes, continue to be supportive of long-term care homes in small communities, such as those represented by OMNI, and to be supportive of the residents of those communities by continuing to provide long-term care,” he says.

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