Operators of private long-term care facilities on P.E.I. have a new contract with government, but operators say some seniors will still end up paying more for housing.

The new contract comes after an arbitrator was brought in to reach a deal.

The per diem government pays for housing for seniors who qualify for funding will increase two per cent a year for three years. Operators say that's better than government's initial offer but argue it still isn't enough.

Kurt Turpin, president of the P.E.I. Nursing Home Association, told CBC News because the government rate is so low residents who don't qualify for funding have to pay more for the same accommodations and services. He said facilities have to raise rates for non-subsidized residents or face an operational shortfall, but the market can't bear rates much higher than what many facilities are already charging.

Turpin said at the facility he administers the difference is between $20 and $30 a day.

"That creates problems not only at a business level here, it creates problems with residents who live here, who have knowledge of this, who are cognizant and aware of their finances. They are aware that the person next to them is paying much less," he said.

The province currently pays just under $80 a day for accommodations for subsidized residents, and nearly $90 a day for health-care costs for all residents.

A spokesperson for the P.E.I. Department of Health said government is in the process of implementing the arbitration award, and won't comment until that is complete.

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