Friday, August 26, 2011

Victoria Manor Request for Information

Earlier this week it was announced that City of Kawartha Lakes Council has directed staff to issue a Request for Information (RFI) for the management of Victoria Manor.  The idea is to explore how a company who specializes in Long-Term Care might improve the delivery and quality of resident and family services at the Manor.

Unfortunately, an editorial that appeared in Kawartha Lakes This Week on Thursday, August 25 (Our Opinion: Victoria Manor plan raises more questions than answers) contained some inaccuracies and we wanted to take the opportunity to provide the correct information. The comments and the City’s clarification are provided below:

“So in typical City of Kawartha Lakes’ fashion, two months later the City announces it is looking at hiring an outside firm to manage the entire facility.”
The operational review was presented to Council  on July 26 by Klejman and Associates Consulting Inc. Although the report did not specifically include a contracting out component, it was a consideration identified in the original Terms of Reference for the review. At that meeting Council directed staff to prepare a report on the implementation of the consultant’s recommendations. This report was presented on August 16 which is less than a month later.

The City will be issuing a Request for Information for management services. Should an external third party service provider be considered, management team staff would be employees of the company. However all other staff would remain employees of the City of Kawartha Lakes. No final decision has been made, we’re just looking at the options. We think this is a responsible thing to do.

“If eight managers are let go (and even if they are hired by a contractor), the City will likely have to pay severance to those individuals. Those costs should be factored into any equation on supposed savings.”
The purpose of exploring this option is to provide support to management and staff to assist them in providing resident and family services. Over the mid to long-term a net reduction in operating costs would be a goal however we actually expect costs to increase in the short term. Currently we don’t know what the costs will be, that’s why we’re requesting information.

The decision to explore this option is not a reflection on the current management team at Victoria Manor. These people are professionals who care about the residents and have been working tirelessly to provide high quality services in compliance with the Long-Term Care Homes Act. If Council decides to enter into a management contract we hope the company would appreciate the knowledge and experience the current team members have to offer. 

“Does it make sense to pay an outside firm a fee to run one facility within one municipality? Usually companies leverage their expertise by developing a methodology and applying it in various markets which brings the cost down for each customer.”
This is exactly why we are exploring this option. If we contract management and corporate services from a Long-Term Care focused company we can strengthen the management of Victoria Manor and maintain or improve the delivery and quality of resident and family services.

These companies have corporate offices devoted to the overall management, direction and support of their homes. They have expertise in development of policies and procedures based on best practices in Long-Term Care, implementation and compliance with the Long-Term Care Homes Act, development and implementation of quality management programs, financial management expertise specific to long-term care, capital planning, HR planning, staff development specific to Long-Term Care, information to support planning and decision making, and back-up for vacancies that occur in individual homes’ management teams.

The City doesn’t have the same extent of corporate Long-Term Care specific knowledge and expertise to support the Manor’s management team. It’s an economy of scale issue that makes it hard for the City to operate Victoria Manor as effectively as it should.

“Without seeing any other City privatizing its long-term care facility, we don’t see that opportunity.”
Obviously the editorial wasn’t written by the reporter who attended the media briefing since this question was asked, and answered. 

There are other municipal homes with management contracts in place. The City of Kingston has engaged Extendicare to assist them with the management of their home, Rideaucrest.  The northern municipalities that own and operate Algoma Manor in Thessalon purchase management services from Specialty Care. There are a number of other municipalities currently looking at this option.

The City is not looking to privatize the facility. We cannot sell Victoria Manor to a private company. By law we need to own and operate a Long-Term Care home.

The issues arising from the [consultant’s] report must be dealt with and it’s not responsible to slough them off by delegating them to a private firm.”
Under Provincial law, we cannot delegate any of our responsibility for owning and operating Victoria Manor to an outside company. Clearly that is not our intent.  We are simply looking for information on potentially contracting out management services.

Council’s Committee of Management, which consists of 5 Council Members, will continue to have responsibility for overseeing the operation of Victoria Manor on Council’s behalf.

We respect Kawartha Lakes This Week’s right to publish their opinion however they also have a responsibility to be factually correct. Hopefully this info will clear up any confusion!

For more information on this issue, including Questions & Answers click here.