I found Keith Halliday’s article “One picture worth a thousand economic words,” March 24 issue, provided a perspective that left me wanting to probe more deeply.
I was particularly troubled by his suggestion that “the Whistle Bend continuing care facility could be run by an independent foundation or even private healthcare company” and “social and retirement housing can be built and operated by non-profits or companies, instead of government agencies.”
There has been considerable research done over the last 10 years about the impact of for-profit ownership of long-term care, assisted living and residential care for older adults. Much of it is very disturbing. I’ve looked at credible research from Parkland Institute (University of Alberta), York University, Canadian Health Coalition and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. In addition I have followed news stories of recent lawsuits in Edmonton and Ontario for negligence and abuse against Revera, which operates privately run long-term care facilities in Canada, U.S. and U.K.
According to Margaret McGregor of UBC, author of a report different models for providing long-term care, “generally for-profit are less likely to provide good care than nonprofit or public facilities.” Numerous studies show that the quality of care is directly related to the staffing levels, type of staff and the training of that staff. For-profit facilities are likely to have lower staffing levels in order to reduce their costs and increase profit for their shareholders.
Public-private partnerships (P3s) as Halliday seems to recommend, are, according to the Canadian Health Coalition, being used by governments because they keep the full cost of building new facilities out of the government’s budget. But in the long run they cost the taxpayer more, are often inefficient and sometimes don’t meet the requirements for which they were built.
I believe that turning to privatization and for-profit models to deliver health care is not in the best interest of older adults and the health care system. We need to develop a made in Yukon healthcare plan that provides equitable and accessible service and meets established standards of practice based on research.
Lillian Nakamura Maguire,