MANITOULIN—The representative for Billings Township on the Manitoulin Centennial Manor board is upset that the Ministry of Health (MOH) is clawing back what it says is an overpayment in funds made to the Manor in 2011.
Tom Imrie explained that at a regular manor board meeting last week, “we received our audit for the past year and we are in good shape financially. We should break even as long as we don’t have a huge retroactive payment in regard to our CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) staff in an arbitration hearing taking place in May. If a large award is given retroactively, by the arbitrator, we could be in a pickle, but in our budget predictions for the year we feel this is already going to be covered for the retroactive contract agreement payments.”
However, “the downside of things is that it appears the Ministry of Health, we were told, has carried out some sort of reconciliation of payments back to 2011 and the Manor was apparently overpaid $25,000 at that time,” said Councillor Imrie. “I understand that this is an error that was made by the MOH and the Manor was overpaid this amount. Now we have received $25,000 less this month for patient care, and there is no opportunity for the Manor to appeal, or that we as a board or administration were given any heads up on this.”
Councillor Imrie continued, “we are trying to figure out how all of this happened. If it is our error that is one thing and we would have to stick with the MOH decision.” He explained, “the whole issue has something to do with the method of how much the province pays per resident, depending on the level of care a patient requires.”
“But if they (MOH) provided an overpayment to the Manor and are coming back now five years later, it is sad and shows the desperate situation the Liberal government is in to have to take money away from old people,” stated Councillor Imrie. “As far as I’m concerned as a member of the Manor board, if it is found to be a mistake that has been made by the province it is totally inappropriate to take $25,000 from a non-profit, municipally operated facility, working on a shoestring budget. We as a board and administration are very cautious about what and where we spend our funding,” he said, noting that about 90 percent of the Manor budget goes to patient care, staffing, lodging and food. It would be horrible if it is found that the government would now, after five years, claw back $25,000 due to some administrative error or oversight on the part of the ministry. But right now our administration is investigating this; we are not sure how it happened.”
“Meanwhile the province has millions of dollars in e-health they have not collected, and billions of dollars the government has wasted on nuclear power plant plans…obviously elderly persons in this province are of secondary concern in the minds of the government,” added Councillor Imrie.