BEDFORD, NS, Oct. 21, 2016 /CNW/ - Annette Fougere, Chair of the Health Association Nova Scotia Continuing Care Council and administrator of St. Anne Centre in Arichat, says long term care providers across the province are struggling to mitigate the 1 percent reduction in facilities' gross budgets for fiscal year 2016 – 2017. Fougere was responding to recent media reports which suggested the cuts are only impacting a small group of nursing homes and, likewise, that there is no impact on residents.
"This is a significant issue for all facilities that are affected by this budget reduction as they can only apply these cuts to approximately 30 percent of their gross budgets due to uncontrollable, fixed costs," says Fougere. "Providers are committed to working with government to increase efficiencies and save costs; however, clearly the risk of impacting resident care is unavoidable when they can only apply the 1 percent reduction to less than a third of their gross budgets."
Long term care providers understand that the province is in a fiscally challenged environment and are engaged in various cost saving initiatives, such as group purchasing, in order to manage costs as efficiently as possible. Providers also appreciate being given the latitude to determine their own mitigation strategies to address budget cuts rather than government prescribing the specific budget area for reduction, such as administration. Notwithstanding this, it's an unreasonable expectation for providers to absorb a 1 percent reduction in their gross budgets when they can only apply those cuts to the operating portion only. For example, unionized wages and benefits, mortgages, loans for capital improvements, and property taxes are fixed costs that cannot be adjusted.
Fougere adds that the Continuing Care Council and partner associations are currently canvassing their members to gather a more detailed understanding of the impact of the budget cut on a facility by facility basis.
"We are pleased to hear that the government has started contacting facilities to gain an understanding of the specific financial pressures they are facing as a result of this budget cut," adds Fougere. "Given the magnitude of this issue, we hope this will lead to a collective solution that protects high-quality, person centred resident care."
The Health Association Nova Scotia Continuing Care Council represents over 90 percent of the licensed nursing homes in the province.
SOURCE HEALTH ASSOCIATION NOVA SCOTIA
For further information: Annette Fougere, CEO, St. Anne Centre and Chair, Continuing Care Council, 902-226-0960, ext. 235/902-631-5644 (cell), [email protected]