Grey County Council has decided to send the matter of applying for more long-term care beds for Grey Gables in Markdale back to the Long-Term Care Management Committee for more discussion.
Now, after some studying of site plans and financials, the County might not apply for 96 beds, but instead apply for 62 beds.
On Thursday, November 14th, councillors were presented with some financial estimates for three different options when it comes to the County's two homes that need upgrading as mandated by the Province by 2025.
The plan is now, for the Long-Term Care Management Committee to bring a recommendation to the next council meeting November 28th, outlining what quantity of beds it wants to apply for.
Back on November 10th, The Long Term Care Committee of Management met to discuss three different construction options for its Grey Gables and Rockwood Terrace Long-Term Care Homes.
The first is to have 128 beds at both Grey Gables and Rockwood Terrace. This appears to be a preferred option by some Long-Term Care Management Committee members. Both Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen and Chatsworth Mayor Scott Mackey told councillors they support looking more closely at that option.
The second option was a new 160 bed build at Grey Gables and 128 bed build at Rockwood Terrace.
The Third is a 96 bed build at Grey Gables and 128 bed build at Rockwood Terrace.
A rough financial estimate from staff presented Thursday (Nov 14th) shows any of these three options would mean a roughly $1 million increase on the levy going forward.
CAO Kim Wingrove explains, in that scenario, it's possible the County would build a new 128 bed facility beside the existing Grey Gables and use the old facility as another kind of home, maybe for the elderly who need some care but not to the degree of long-term care. The concept is sometimes called a "campus of care.'
Some, including Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen, believe 128 beds could be the magic number to operate most efficiently.
Meanwhile, Wingrove points out an arrangement like that might me beneficial for some couples if one needs long-term care while other doesn't, but needs some care and would want to live nearby.
Director of Corporate Services Kevin Weppler, expressed concern about building two large 128 bed homes at the same time. He also noted current staffing supply issues might be magnified in the bigger builds.
A long discussion among councillors took place Thursday that included the cost of public versus private care, the standards and the prices.
During council's discussion, Owen Sound Deputy Mayor Brian O'Leary asked why the county loses $6 million a year to run its homes while private companies don't seem to.
Wingrove says there are differences in public and private that allow private companies to save money.
They include the size of private companies allows them to have more buying power. They have private staff which may differ in cost from the county's unionized staff. They also have larger teams to deal with finance etc and the county because of its size doesn't have that corporate structure.
"Private operators are very highly consolidated. They're large operation with a high degree of efficiencies and economies of scale. They have a finance department that can provide financial assistance to 100 homes for example, whereas we have three and yet our costs probably aren't that different," says Wingrove.
Long-Term Care Director Jennifer Cornell noted to council, both public and private long-term care homes are subject to the same provincial regulations and inspections. Cornell says the quality of care is held to the same standard. The Province also sets the prices for public and private care.
Numbers presented to Council by Cornell show private homes have an average of 2.7 hours of care per patient and public homes have an average of 2.8 hours. Grey County averages at 2.76 hours.
Looking ahead, Wingrove notes population estimates predict there will he a need for 108 beds within 15 minutes of Grey Gables in the next 5 years.