Private senior healthcare that Quebec can’t afford

Blame a nickel-and-dime public policy!

_Gold Squad, June, 2022. Back in 2020, Mr. François Legault floated the idea of nationalising private senior healthcare in Quebec in response to the horrifying conditions and practices reported at CHSLDs. However, healthcare costs money. 

Whether private or public, it is all about the bottom line. 

The Quebec premier abandoned his plan, even with coroner Géhane Kamel’s 200-page report around the corner. In it, she detailed “…decades of failing public policies concerning CHSLD that were already known.” These poor public policies underfunded the system, tarnished the reputation of Quebec’s private healthcare sector, and served as instruments for treating our seniors as institutional problems.

Operating costs of CHSLDs –and what the government covers

Privately owned, unfunded CHSLDs charge about 5,000$ to $8,000 per month for accommodations. There is rarely a waitlist for these private senior healthcare residences because volume is in the best interest of the bottom line. In this very real sense, private owners are essentially in the business of real estate.

In Public and Private funded CHSLDs (both funded by Quebec), the waitlists are long but the cost of one month of rent is 2019.30$ for an individual room. However, the government assumes 80.8% of the real cost. That means a room costs over 10,000$ per month!

However, high, subsidised costs do not translate to better quality. In fact, reports during the height of the pandemic indicate the opposite. Quebec’s ombudsman reported evidence of abusive and neglectful practices in 24 public residences.

Private senior healthcare tarnished their reputation for the public sector

In addition to “decades of failing public policies,” Kamel writes that, in Private funded CHSLDs, the “… glaring lack of staff … and inadequate remuneration in private CHSLDs exacerbated [the health crisis].” 

A Private funded CHSLD is actually publicly funded, but the residence building is owned, and run by, a private owner. However, since it uses public funds, it follows the mandates of public policy; Quebec provides the guidelines for senior healthcare, which the Private funded sector follows.

In other words, the blame for poor operating procedures and practices, lack of funds, and staff shortages in the Private funded CHSLDs falls firmly on the failures of the public sector. 

And they know it.

The Public sector runs a similar staff shortage to the Private, but ironically fills 30% of their roster with private contractors. No wonder the private sector struggled!

This is by design. 

This way, the government avoids controversy and fallout from poor public policies. It shirks responsibility onto Quebec’s private senior healthcare sector, tarnishing its reputation. The bottom line is there aren’t enough public funds to support an adequately functional long-term senior care system.

So, Legault sweeps it under the rug.

Are CHSLDs still the way?

As a heavily regulated society, we tend to institutionalise our problems. In regards to senior care, this leads to “warehousing.” Instead, experts and seniors alike say seniors would be better served at home, and to shift funding towards homecare.

But how can a government incapable of running basic, humane senior care services in their own institutions and unwilling to fix their disastrous public policy ever be trusted to provide home care services?

You need Gold Squad.

Without the public sector constraints that standardised poor quality services, Gold Squad upkeeps the gold standard of human decency our seniors deserve. We provide customised, flexible in-home senior care services in the Greater Montreal Area. Learn about the options available for yourself or an elderly loved one by calling 438-700-9107 or booking a consultation with Heather Parnell, founder and owner of Gold Squad.