In essence the government is rewarding private operators who have diverted public funding to profits instead of paying fair wages and ensuring adequate staffing.UNA President Heather Smith.
For those of you who didn’t watch the Gov of AB Covid Update today, May 19th, the government took the opportunity to announce their: “Strong protection for vulnerable seniors” initiative.
The announcement was made by the Min of Health , Min of Seniors and Jennifer McCue the Chair of the Alberta Continuing Care Association(ACCA) Board .
The ACCA describes itself on its website as consisting of private and non-profit sector providers of continuing care. The ACCA Board has representation from Age Care, Bethany Care, CovenantCare, Park Place Seniors , Shepherd’s Care, Bayshore Home Care, Extendicare and Optima Living . So the government has been working closely with or has been consulting with or has asked for direction from the NON PUBLIC providers/ operators of Continuing Care in the province. As Carol has said – the private and the oh so similar to private non-profit providers of continuing care in Alberta have once again shaped AB’s LTC policies and structures.
Their website states that ACCA provides care for (8,600 LTC and 5,000 DSL) individuals . In her presentation Jennifer McCue stated that they provide care to 48% of Albertans in Supportive Living and Long term care. ( All numbers to be triple checked by yours truly at some point in the near future).
Back to the initiative:
Shandro described it as a” provincial investment of more than $170 million will help keep residents and staff in long-term care, designated supportive living facilities and seniors lodges safe from COVID-19.” The $170 million is the total of $14.2 million per month for 12 months retroactive to March 15 —although the release specified that funding will continue until the orders from Alberta’s chief medical officer of health are lifted ( and goodness knows – at the rate we are going that might be sooner than later…..I don’t know)
The government also says the funding will be used for enhanced staffing and extra cleaning supplies and will address lost accommodation revenue , that it will be distributed in coordination with Alberta Health Services and Seniors and Housing and that “there will be a requirement to report on the use of these funds, and facilities will need to return money not spent on COVID-related purposes.”
In case you haven’t already noticed it, they have explicitly ( and unfortunately quite brillantly from a PR point of view? ) linked this announcement to their Relaunch strategy saying : “One of the key conditions for Alberta’s relaunch is strong protection for the most vulnerable, including those in congregate living facilities.”