Manor remains within budget

GORE BAY—At the present time, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) has put a hold on 2006-2007 clawbacks from the Manitoulin Centennial Manor (MCM) board, and if things remain as they are, it will mean the Manor will remain within budget and municipalities are not expected to experience a significant increase in their share of costs.

“So the bottom line is, as long as things keep going the way they are, even if the ministry decides you have to pay these clawbacks (2006-2007) of $500,000 to the ministry, as long as the payback amount stays at just over $6,000 per month, you would not be looking to the municipalities for a significant increase; unless they want back the money much sooner?” Gore Bay Mayor Ron Lane asked representatives of the Manor Board, at a Gore Bay council meeting Monday.

“Yes,” said Mary Jo Eckert-Tracy, chairperson of MCM. “Kathie (Davidson) and myself are very pleased to respond to your invitation to meet with you this evening. The Manitoulin Centennial Manor is very close to our hearts. We are proud to put our resident’s health and safety as the key to the operations. We are challenged as the board since 1967 with the finances of the facility. This has been an ongoing challenge for nursing homes and long term care facilities not only in our province, but in our country. We have survived 45 years and with continued changes we will serve Manitoulin for a number of years.”

“In the short term, we are negotiating with MOHLTC to clarify our situation and to request a stop to claw backs until accurate numbers are determined,” said Ms. Eckert-Tracy. As well, the Manor nurse consultant from Extendicare, its managerial company, will look at the nursing staff complement to determine potential savings.”

In the long term, the Manor is negotiating the potential for increased beds at the Manor and have met with the North East Local Health Integrated Networks and MPP Mike Mantha. They are working with their management company exploring different and varied models of operations, as they continue to address continuum of care as a possibility for future viability.

As a result of the strategies put in place, all of the recoveries for 2009 owed to MOHLTC have been paid. An over payment of $22,000 has been refunded. As well, “we are paying back the recoveries for 2008 at a rate of $6,138 per month over 16 months (May 2012-September 2013). We are able to manage this payment as a result of fine tuning our operational efficiencies,” said Ms. Eckert-Tracy.

“The recoveries for 2006 and 2007 are still under negotiation with MOHLTC and are on hold at this time,” said Ms. Eckert-Tracy. “During this time (2006-2007), what happened is that the floor on the first floor had cracked and heaved. The ministry had been funding this at 100 percent (while the Manor was under government control) and so the work was done using reserves to fix the problem and at the time, the ministry never said they would be clawing back these funds.” Also in 2007, the Manor was still under a control order “so we couldn’t admit (new) residents.” She explained while the government was under control, the Manor board had no say in the operations of the Manor, and they (ministry) had paid themselves 100 percent of the costs of running the home. However, six years later, they came back and said this was overpaid.

The recoveries are a result of the way the MOHLTC funds all long term care facilities, the meeting was told. Nothing is funded 100 percent as long as there is 97 percent occupancy. When occupancy falls below 97 percent then they claw back for the beds not occupied. Since the home has been at or above 97 percent occupancy since 2009 the Manor has not had to deal with claw backs from these years and 2009 was a small amount.

“When the home was under government control order in 2006-2007 we were unable to admit any residents,” said Ms. Eckert-Tracy. “Thus the occupancy fell well below 97 percent and the MOHLTC continued to fund at 100 percent. The money they are claiming now is that over payment. Also during the control order the home was told they had to bring the home up to date. Any reserves we had at that time were used for the updates.”

“We are in compliance and have no grievances in front of us in terms of unions,” continued Ms. Eckert-Tracy. “The 2008 claw back, we are paying $6,138.00 per month. This is something we are able to pay, through efficiencies in the home we can handle this on a long term basis.”

Ms. Eckert-Tracy explained, “we are looking at this like a debt or mortgage and have a budget and are staying within it. Our cash flow is good and we are paying off our debt as we are aware of it at this time. We believe we can continue to manage on a month to month basis. Our most recent financial statement received is for June 2012 which you will have received. The budget looks good, but there is the potential claw back (2006-2007) we have to be careful about.”

This amount is just under a half million dollars, “and is the one we are frightened of,” said Ms. Eckert-Tracy. “We’re going to fight it since the ministry was under control at the time, and paid itself. It was their costs, and that this shouldn’t be clawed back.”

“So the $6,000 you are paying every month is for everything but 2006-2007?” asked councillor Lou Addison, which the Manor reps said is the case.

“The government ran the Manor during this time using Jarlette Services and Extendicare,” said Ms. Eckert-Tracy. Ms. Addison pointed out at an earlier meeting in Little Current, the Manor board and municipalities in attendance had been told by an MOHLTC official, “that you wouldn’t have to pay this back (2006-2007 costs).”

The ministry rep, “said they would provide the money for the repairs on the floor, because they saw we were really trying to make things work. He allowed us to remain as a board and said we didn’t have to pay this back,” said Ms. Eckert-Tracy.

“The bottom line is if things keep staying the way the are you are good to go, but if they come back and say there is another $500,000 that needs to be paid back this will be an issue,” said Mr. Lane.

“Yes,” said Ms. Eckert-Tracy. “It’s on hold, and we are paying the $6,138 per month.”