Payback respite for Manor provides breathing room

Details are still sketchy, but it appears that the Manitoulin Centennial Manor has succeeded in negotiating a much longer payback period for funds the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care feels is owed to them because of a deemed overpayment to the Manor during the time the facility was not operating at capacity as it addressed and repaired “deficiencies” to the physical plant.

There is so far no forgiveness on any of the $620,299 that is deemed repayable to the ministry but the payback schedule has been stretched from 20 months to 60 months so the Manor board’s monthly payback has dropped to $10,000 (from the previous $30,000) per month. There is also the possibility that the total amount owed may be rethought so the monthly payout picture has the prospect of looking even better.

For the record, we feel the concept of “overpayment” is unrealistic as the cost of operating a 60-bed facility would be virtually the same no matter if it were to be 100 per cent or 85 per cent occupied.

But the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has a different opinion on this point and so the funds are being repaid on demand.

While $10,000 per month is considerable operating revenue for the Manor to forego, it is still a far more manageable amount than the approximately $30,000 per month that was being previously clawed back.

At the very least, this gives some operating respite to the Manor operations and the board, administration and ministry officials all deserve credit for recognizing that the situation was a punitive one that demanded a reasonable rethinking, which has happened.

At the very least, this must do a great deal to relieve the financial stresses the board and administration must surely have been feeling and while it is true that often people work well under pressure, living in this state as a way of life is certainly unpleasant.

Now, hopefully, the Manor board and its administration will be able to devote more creative energies to thinking about ways in which the important facility can become as self sufficient as possible, hopefully considering the ‘continuum of care’ model thoughtfully in this process.