Burnaby, B.C. (January 25, 2021) – The recommendations made through the Ernst & Young report released today, and those which were outlined in a report made public by BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) in November of last year, identified multiple overlapping themes and follow-up actions.
The public release E&Y report – which was filed on the eve of Election Day and therefore was not acted upon in a timely fashion – should not have been delayed until late January. Taking action on recommendations provided in these reports could have mitigated some of the impacts of the current wave of the pandemic.
Issues identified in the E&Y report include PPE shortages, communication challenges and inconsistent responses across the province’s health authorities. These concerns and others were previously brought forward in the Association’s report titled “Review of The Response To COVID-19 In Seniors Care and Living.”
Since March 2020, BCCPA has been working collaboratively with the Ministry of Health, health authorities, care providers and multiple sector stakeholders to address many of these issues. Improvements have been made in several areas such as in PPE procurement. However, there is more work to be done — particularly in the area of coordinating communications and collaborating on solutions between the Provincial Health Office and sector stakeholders. The fact that BCCPA and others who were consulted for the E&Y report received the report at the same time as the general public speaks to that fact.
The E&Y report also makes clear that care home operators need assurances that the cost overruns they have incurred to fight the spread of the coronavirus will be covered by the Ministry of Health. Large debt-loads currently carried by multiple non-profit operators put these care homes at risk.
In addition to the recommendations outlined, the Association is continuing to ask for regular and consistent information sharing between Public Health and the senior care sector. As we have indicated before, the long-term care sector is the most impacted by COVID-19, yet little if any contact between the Provincial Health Office and the sector has happened despite repeated invitations to consult with one another.
Had this report been made public alongside the report released by BCCPA and feedback from other groups, it may have led to implementing important changes such as deploying rapid testing in care homes and helped prevent the deadly spread of SARS-CoV-2.
VP, Public Affairs
BC Care Providers Association
About BC Care Providers Association
Established in 1977, BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is the leading voice for B.C.’s continuing care sector. Our growing membership base includes over 400 long-term care, assisted living, home care, home support, and commercial members from across British Columbia. Through its operating arm EngAge BC, the organization represents independent living, as well as private pay assisted living, long-term care and home health services.