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Ford not moving towards abolishing private nursing homes

IPolitics reports that Internal talks between the Ford and Trudeau governments over supports for the long-term care sector have not included the aim of reducing for-profit facilities, the premier’s office says — as recent analyses have revealed higher death rates in for-profit homes.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford appeared to indicate interest in speaking with the feds about the proliferation of privately-owned long-term care homes last week. Asked by a reporter whether he would support, in some capacity, ending privatized care, Ford noted that Ontario couldn’t currently afford to do so on their own.

“We aren’t in the financial spot to be able to fund the whole system, but I’d love to sit down, and I’ve mentioned this to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, we need their support,” Ford replied, during a May 6 press briefing. But on Monday, premier’s office spokesperson Ivana Yelich told iPolitics that Ontario’s discussions with the feds about aid hadn’t veered in that direction.

“It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the province going and looking at eliminating all private homes,” Yelich said of their talks. “It’s not really a conversation we’re having right now, at all.”

Yelich pointed out that for-profit and not-for-profit homes in Ontario have been hit by COVID-19 outbreaks at comparable rates — a statement that was bolstered by a recent breakdown of public long-term care data in the Toronto Star. But recent analyses by news outlets and health groups have shown a steeper death rate in for-profits with outbreaks than in not-for-profits or municipal homes.

An Ontario Health Coalition assessment of 93 homes with COVID-19 outbreaks recently found that for-profit homes had a 9-per-cent fatality rate, versus a death rate of 5.3 per cent in non-profits and 3.6 per cent in homes owned by Ontario’s municipalities.

As of last year, the Ontario Long Term Care Association — which represents the full slate of provincial operators, including both private and public — said 58 per cent of Ontario’s homes were privately owned, 24 per cent non-profits or charities, and 16 per cent were owned by municipalities. Another 2 per cent of long-term care was via facilities like hospitals. “Many homes are part of multi-home organizations,” the association noted in a 2019 report.

The full report from IPolitics is here:

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