A new funding model will change the game for the development of long-term care homes in Ontario
By Will Bouma, MPP Brantford-Brant
Help is on the way for long-term care, a sector that saw only 611 new beds built between 2011 and 2018. Many long-term care homes were constructed before 1970, and outdated rooms are in dire need of redevelopment.
We are served by the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN (Local Health Integration Network), which has 10591 long-term care beds, a waitlist of 3104 vulnerable seniors, and a median wait time of 93 days for admission.
For decades, Provincial governments of all stripes have talked about solutions yet attempts to build and improve long-term care have failed. They have rebranded the same financial model time and again without producing any significant results. Yet, no one thought to ask, “Why isn’t this working?”
Our government is taking historic steps to improve the lives of our seniors. Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, has spent the past year meeting with the long-term care sector in order to remove barriers to building long-term care homes in Ontario.
Earlier this week, Premier Ford and Minister Fullerton announced a modernized funding model that our government is applying to the building of new long-term care homes and upgrading of older homes to modern standards. Designed around the specific needs of different regional markets, this model will incentivize long-term care operators to invest in building and renovating homes in all corners of Ontario, including right here in Brantford – Brant.
Putting our government’s historic $1.75 billion investment in long-term care capacity growth to work, this funding model will increase upfront funding and cover key development charges, making it easier to get projects off the ground and provide residents with the care they need, fast. The model is tailored to overcome localized barriers and meet community needs in each of four market segments (based on population size): rural, mid-size, urban, and large urban.
As of today, four projects to build new long-term care beds and renovate older beds are in the pipeline in our own backyard. This modernized funding model will help make these projects a reality and provide local long-term care residents with new, modern places to call home.
Our modernized funding model is one key part of repairing the cracks in our aging long-term care system, addressing our growing waitlist, building healthier and safer communities, and getting us closer to ending hallway health care.
The Long Term Care Homes in Brantford-Brant have performed exceptionally well during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have reached out to local LTC homes to make resources available to the management. This announcement can only help alleviate the current waitlist and improve wait-times in the future.
By making smart investments to modernize long-term care, we can build a stronger system and ensure our loved ones have access to the care and comfort they deserve, now and in the future.
The sector told our government what they needed to get shovels in the ground and deliver care for our seniors, and we listened. This innovative new model will help get the job done faster and get aging Ontarians the care they need sooner.