PEI

Province hikes nursing home rates by $700 a month

The province is changing the way it increases the rates at provincial long-term care homes after concerns were raised that the plan would mean a 27 per cent increase in just two months.

Phasing increase in over 2 years instead of 2 months

The province says they have 600 residents currently living in public long-term care facilities. (Shutterstock)

Islanders who live in government-run long-term care facilities are facing a rent increase as the province is set to raise the rates on April 1st.

The province recently sent out letters notifying residents the rates would be going up by almost $23 a day.

That would be around $700 more a month — a 27 per cent rate increase that was to take effect over two months.

Original plan for the rate increase

Daily Rates

Date of Increase

$80.00 Feb. 1, 2019
$93.39 March 1, 2019
$102.73 April 1, 2019

Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell backtracked on Monday saying the increases were coming too fast.

"Obviously, I spoke to a lot of families of Islanders who are affected," he said.

"We have asked Health PEI to look at and put forward a two-year transition."

Health Minister Robert Mitchell says the province will increase the transition time of the rate increases from two months to two years to allow the residents to better adjust to the new rates. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

That $700 increase will now be reached gradually over two years instead of just two months — with the plan now to raise the rates every six months by $5 a day.

The $700 increase affects about 90 residents who pay the full rent without getting any subsidy.

The province's Prince Edward Home in Charlottetown has 120 beds. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Word of the increase at the public long-term care homes was a concern at the local Seniors Active Living Centre.

"I've had my father in a nursing home and they're wonderful ...  but that amount of an increase in one jump seems astronomical to me," said Norva Vessey.

"It doesn't seem fair, and with government going into an election year, this is a bad time to raise those rates," said Scott MacDonald, president of the Seniors Active Living Centre. "Seniors have a big voice on the Island." 

Beach Grove Home in Charlottetown is one of the province's long-term care facilities that will charge $102.73 daily for new residents after April 1, 2019. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

The health minister said hearing concerns like that, led to the change of plans.

"By April 1st, that would have been in place for those 90 affected residents and that is quite the burden to place on them, so obviously an oversight," said Mitchell.

"An oversight, especially on my part to not have picked that up so when it was brought to the attention, obviously the right thing to do is to extend that transition piece so that is now two years versus two months."

The government says it needs to raise the rates to cover increasing costs and be more in line with what private nursing homes charge.

New residents will have to pay new rates as of April 1

Mitchell said there had not been a change in the rates for the past seven years. 

The newly announced gradual increases are just for those living in the province's long-term care homes now.

Any new residents who move into the province's nursing homes after April 1st will have to pay the full rate increase right away.

Health PEI said there are currently 600 residents living in public long-term care facilities on P.E.I.

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With files from Laura Meader