Private community care facilities on P.E.I. say the province isn't paying them enough money to take care of some of the Island's most vulnerable residents, and so they are not taking them in.
The 38 private community-care facilities provide some help with daily living for people who can't live at home — seniors and people with mental and physical disabilities — but who do not require full nursing home care.
Some clients pay their own way, others rely on provincial funding. But the contract between the facilities and P.E.I. expired in June. Tanyia Kingyens, spokeswoman for the P.E.I. Community Care Association, said the rate under the old contract does not cover the cost of taking in residents.
"We're not trying to exclude people or cause people any more anxiety," said Kingyens.
"It's just a fact of life that if your business isn't viable at the rate, you have to change the rate."
The province currently offers $65.56 per day for clients in financial need. The facilities have asked for an increase to $74.50, based on a recommendation from consultant they hired. Clients who can't afford the extra $9 a day are being turned away.
It's difficult to say what is happening to those people who can't afford to go into community care. The Community Care Association believes some are staying at home, while others are taking up acute care hospital beds.
Social Services and Seniors Minister Valerie Docherty said as private businesses the community care facilities are free to choose how they operate.
"If turning away a client is something they choose to do, it's not my place to tell them otherwise," said Docherty.
The association says it tried to start negotiations on a new contract back in Nov 2011.
Community care facility owner will meet with representatives of the provincial Health Department Tuesday on another issue. They're trying to negotiate a deal to give the facilities more money to provide care for seniors who require nursing home level care, but remain in community care while waiting for a new place.
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