The CEO of a Saint John nursing home is speaking out over comments made by Horizon Health CEO Karen McGrath earlier this month.
“I guess the word easy, I’m not quite sure why that word might have been used,” said Cindy Donovan, the CEO of Loch Lomond Villa in east Saint John.
“How would it be easy? As far as the regional health authority, what sort of strategies would they put in place to even make it easier?”
At the beginning of February, McGrath told the Standing Committee on Crown Corporations that in order to ease crowding in hospitals nursing homes should be brought under the purview of regional health authorities.
Donovan says nursing homes are right where they belong as part of the Department of Social Development.
“There’s no question; both departments have their challenges. You know, as nursing homes we have our challenges, but that doesn’t mean that we need to all of a sudden uproot everything,” she said.
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Donovan says that both departments need to work together to find creative solutions for the issues facing the province’s health and long-term care systems rather than radically altering the structure of two departments.
“There’s lots of different ways that we can improve the system, but in my opinion, as someone who’s been in the system for many years, putting nursing homes under our regional health authorities is definitely not the answer,” she said.
“We have to work together and we’ve gotta come up with strategies together.”
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Provincial Minister of Social Development Dorothy Shephard agrees.
“I want it to be wherever the end user gets a better service. So if I could be convinced that that’s happening–look I’m open to anything,” she said.
“But nothing at this time has shown me that the process or the beds will be there if we move it from one department to another and I worry that making a change like this is so enormous that we’ll actually make things not so much better.”
Shephard added that the discussion around transferring responsibility for nursing homes is nothing new, but she thinks there are too many issues that need to be addressed by both departments to start swapping responsibilities back and forth.
“I’m a proponent right now of let’s fix what’s wrong first and then decide if we should move it.”