The Island Health Board of Directors says it has temporarily appointed an administrator for the Comox Valley Seniors Village due to the operator’s inability to meet care expectations.
The Comox Valley Seniors Village, located in Courtenay, is a private 136-bed long-term care facility owned by Retirement Concepts.
Retirement Concepts was acquired by Cedar Tree in 2017, part of the Angbang Insurance Group, whose founder was convicted of fraud in China in May 2018.
Cedar Tree contracted The Pacific Reach Seniors Housing Management leadership team to manage day-to-day operations.
Island Health publicly funds 120 of the beds at the facility.
The new administrator will manage and oversee day-to-day operations at the Comox Valley Seniors Village, including care planning, staff recruitment and orientation, development and implementation of audit tools, developing policies and procedures and overall compliance with the legislated standards of care.
“Providing high quality, safe, dignified care for seniors in our publicly funded long-term care facilities is a key Island Health priority,” Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair, said in a statement.
“Due to the operator’s inability to meet the care expectations outlined in legislation, the Board of Directors has taken the extraordinary action to appoint an Administrator to manage the facility.”
Susan Abermann has been named as the administrator for six months, effective Sept. 30. Island Health said she has a 25-year career in seniors care in British Columbia, including serving as Island Health’s lead for residential care services. She also was the executive director of another facility owned by the Retirement Concepts.
As the administrator, Abermann will report to the Island Health Board of Directors.
“It is always important for families of loved ones to bring their concerns forward so that we can ensure they are investigated and addressed through our Licensing process,” Mark Blandford, executive director of Primary Care and Seniors Health and acting Vice President of Priority Populations and Initiatives for Island Health, said in a statement.
“The appointment of an administrator will provide Island Health the clarity of leadership required to return the facility to compliance, providing residents with the care they deserve and families the peace of mind they should have with publicly-funded long-term care.”
According to Island Health, the appointment of the administrator was based upon the recommendation of the North Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Charmaine Enns. Island Health said the medical health officer’s decision was “informed by evidence from Island Health’s Community Care Facilities Licensing program, following a diligent administrative process involving numerous routine and complaint-based licensing inspections.”
“Despite wide-ranging and stringent conditions placed on the facility’s licence on June 10, 2019, the licensing program continued to observe and report multiple areas of non-compliance,” Island Health said.
Island Health said an investigation undertaken by the Licensing program in August and September found key areas of non-compliance with the Community Care and Assisted Living Act (CCLA). One area was that the risk rating of the facility had not changed, even after conditions were placed on the facility’s licence. The other area was contraventions, including volume of contraventions, lack of timely responses to address the contraventions and the duration of the contraventions.
In the medical health officer’s report, Enns wrote that short of cancelling the facility’s licence, “which would have a significant and negative impact resulting in the displacement of 136 individuals that live in the facility” it was appropriate to appoint an administrator.
The report includes a summary table for March 1 to Aug 23, 2019, that lists 45 inspections and investigations by the licensing officer’s for routine and follow up inspections for complaint investigations. The complaints include allegations of emotional abuse, disease outbreak, staffing issues, physical abuse, neglect and more.
“This is an exceptional amount of monitoring visits to a facility for this period of time. It is noteworthy that all 22 routine and follow up inspections have identified contraventions and that contraventions continue. As well, of the 18 complaint investigations, eight have been completed and all eight had substantiated contraventions. The remaining 10 investigations are still in process. This demonstrates a consistent and sustained pattern of non-compliance by the licensee,” Enns wrote.
Enns concluded the report by saying the “volume of identified contraventions and breadth of issues that represent significant system failures coupled with the slow and partial response by the licensee, even with significant support from the licensing officer and prescribed conditions, puts the health and safety of persons in care at ongoing risk.”
“I do not have confidence this licensee is either willing or able to come into compliance with the CCALA on their own accord.”
You can read the medical health officer’s report to the board of directors below:
With files from CBC