For-profit long-term care home chain calls for rules to be relaxed as death toll rises | National Union of Public and General Employees

For-profit long-term care home chain calls for rules to be relaxed as death toll rises

Even though it seems outrageous to anyone whose priority is keeping residents safe, as far as for-profit long-term care companies are concerned, calling for rules to protect people from COVID-19 to be eased when residents these homes are still getting infected and dying is good for business.

Ottawa (16 Sept. 2020) — On Monday, 6 new deaths were reported at an Ottawa long-term care home. That same day, Chartwell, one of the largest long-term care home chains in Canada, called on provincial governments to remove rules intended to protect residents.

Even though it seems outrageous to anyone whose priority is keeping residents safe, as far as for-profit long-term care companies are concerned, calling for rules to protect people from COVID-19 to be eased when residents these homes are still getting infected and dying is good for business.

Chartwell homes amongst the hardest hit by COVID-19

The death toll in long-term care homes owned by Chartwell was high. By mid-June, 93 residents of Chartwell homes had died due to COVID-19.

Yet, the pandemic has not ended at Chartwell facilities. At the same time Chartwell is calling for restrictions to be eased, there are still COVID-19 outbreaks at several Chartwell homes. These include the Chartwell Aurora Long Term Care Residence in Aurora, Chartwell New Edinburgh Square Retirement Residence in Ottawa, and Villa Forum Long Term Care Residence in Mississauga.

Public heath experts don’t support easing restrictions

According to the Globe and Mail article, one restriction that Chartwell has specifically asked to have removed is the 14 day isolation period for new residents of retirement homes. However, public health experts and a seniors’ advocate interviewed by the paper felt that, as long as COVID-19 was in place, that restriction was needed.

Push to remove restrictions appears to be motivated by a desire for increased revenues

In the Management’s Discussion and Analysis Second Quarter Report that Chartwell management prepared for investors in the company, it stated that restrictions like the 14 day isolation period “would be expected to result in further decreases in occupancy levels.” As the report also states that “our revenue and operating results depend significantly on the occupancy levels at our retirement residences and long term care residences,” it is not a surprise that Chartwell is pushing to remove restrictions put in place to protect public health.

Chartwell already increased payments to investors in 2020

In March 2020, Chartwell increased its payments to investors. The increase occurred at the same time that COVID-19 was starting to take hold.

On September 15, the day after Chartwell asked that rules be relaxed, it announced another payment to investors.

Putting profits before safety all too common with private, for-profit long-term care

If Chartwell can afford to increase payments to investors, the obvious question is why on earth do they feel rules that protect residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes should be relaxed in order to generate even more revenue?

Unfortunately, putting profits before the needs of residents is all too common with private, for-profit long-term care companies. That’s why in almost every province the death toll due to COVID-19 was higher in private for-profit long-term care homes than in publicly owned and operated homes. And it’s why the National Union has called for long-term care to be brought under the Canada Health Act and be publicly owned and operated.


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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE

 

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