With long-term care fees set to rise in January, the government needs to put rules in place to make sure private operators use this new money on improving infrastructure and front-line services, said the president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.
The five per cent increase in accommodation fees, announced today by the government, will put millions of more dollars into the hands of private operators with no guarantees that the money will be used on front-line services.
“The government says this increase will help ensure quality accommodation and services for seniors in long-term care,” said Guy Smith. “But there aren’t enough mechanisms in place to ensure that operators actually put that money toward those services.”
For months AUPE has been calling on the government to improve accountability for the massive government subsidies private, for-profit continuing care operators receive.
Alberta Health Services funds private operators to pay their nursing staff at the same level as AHS employees doing the same job. But some operators pay lower wages and keep the difference, and the government allows them to do this.
“These profiteers, some of whom are millionaires, are padding their profit margins with public subsidies meant to ensure quality of care,” Smith said. “Premier Redford and Health Minister Fred Horne need to close loopholes like this.”
For more information, contact:
Guy Smith, AUPE President: (780) 265-2294
Mark Wells, AUPE senior communications advisor: (780) 904-0688