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Province sent $12M to Sunset Manor for 2021/22 fiscal year

25% of beds remain empty, county confirms only 'natural turnover' and no staff layoffs have occurred since cease of admission order
2022-06-27 Sunset JO-001
Sunset Manor is a long-term care home in Collingwood operated by the County of Simcoe.

While one-quarter of the beds at Sunset Manor are currently empty, the province sent $12.3 million toward the home's operations cost for the 2021/22 fiscal year. 

There is a chance the County of Simcoe, as operators of the home, will have to send back some of the money because of reduced occupancy. 

A Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care spokesperson confirmed the "level-of-care" funding long-term care homes receive is calculated on a per-bed, per-day basis and is based on the home achieving its full occupancy levels. 

“Sunset Manor’s level of care funding will be reduced if it does not achieve its prescribed occupancy level due to the cease of admissions order,” confirmed a ministry spokesperson in an email to CollingwoodToday.ca.

In order to "maintain funding stability," even homes that don't reach their occupancy level will receive a minimum of 90 per cent of the level of care funding, according to the ministry. 

There are 148 beds in the home, and as of May, 37 were empty with no chance of being filled while the home is under a cease of admissions order from the province. It is still unknown when that order will be lifted.

Cost breakdowns provided by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care show the county received $10.5 million for the operation of Sunset Manor long-term care home in Collingwood during the 2020/21 fiscal year and $12.3 million for the 2021/2022 fiscal year.

According to figures provided by the County of Simcoe, in 2021, Sunset Manor’s overall budget was $14.96 million, further broken down as $8.08 million in ministry funding, $2.84 million in municipal contributions and $4.04 million in resident fees.

In 2022, Sunset’s budget was $15.88 million, further broken down as $8.6 million in ministry funding, $3.26 million in municipal contributions and $4.02 million in resident fees.

In response to questions about a discrepancy in reported budgets, both the ministry and the county confirmed it was related to COVID-19 specific funding. 

"A portion of these amounts ($2.4 million and $2.5 million respectively) are for time-limited support primarily related to COVID-19," wrote the spokesperson. “All payments are subject to an adjustment, based on the home’s submission of its year-end report and the ministry’s year-end settlement process,”

The County of Simcoe did not include the COVID-19-specific amounts provided by the ministry in their numbers, but the ministry did.

Sunset Manor employs 187 staff members, and has agreements with a number of agencies that provide supplementary assistance on an as-needed basis.

Jane Sinclair, general manager of health and emergency services with the county, noted that over the past year, the county has been mandated by the ministry to cover the costs of Universal Care Canada Inc. to support management of the home. 

She said no layoffs have occurred at the home due to the cease in admission order, but the home has been reduced from five to four operating units to decrease costs.

“Given the staffing challenges present across the sector, there have been no layoffs as a result of the ministry order,” said Sinclair. “There has been natural turnover of staff, consistent with industry levels, and we will need to hire new staff once we begin to occupy the empty beds.”

Sinclair said the county has been able to redirect some of its ministry funding to help offset COVID requirements and infection prevention and control precautions at the home, which she says remain higher than pre-pandemic totals.

The county has received $4.9 million in COVID-specific funding from the province for Sunset Manor between 2020 and 2022.

“We will consult with the province at the end of 2022 to determine if there are any funding adjustments for this calendar year,” said Sinclair.

Since June 2021, a ban on new admissions has been in place for Sunset Manor, issued by the Minister of Long-Term Care. The cease of admissions order was issued after several inspection reports detailed non-compliance in the home related to abuse and neglect of residents, nutrition and hydration programs, plans of care, improper skin and wound care, reports of staff being discouraged from speaking to inspectors, delaying mandatory reporting to the provincial director, and lack of written records. 

In addition to banning new admissions, the province issued a mandatory management order, requiring the county to find a new home administrator and have the new hire approved by the ministry. 

The orders and accompanying reports cited "systemic failure" in the home, and expressed concerns the county "cannot or will not properly manage the home without assistance."

At the time, Sinclair called the report and cease of admissions order "excessive" and said the county "disagreed with the severity of the findings."

Inspections were done at the home again in October 2021, December 2021 and March 2022, some based on complaints, and others based on critical incidents. According to the March 2022 inspection reports, the home has had nine written notifications, 44 voluntary plans of correction and 31 compliance orders in the past 36 months.

“Over the past year, we have undergone significant efforts to enhance our workplace culture at Sunset Manor, improve best practices, and implement meaningful change for residents and staff where needed,” said Sinclair. “This includes adjustments to Sunset Manor’s leadership team and changes to some staff positions to improve morale and teamwork in the home.”

Sunset Manor hired Sherry Bell as permanent administrator on May 2, 2022. Bell is not a new hire for the company. She was the administrator named on the ministry's orders issued in June 2021 and on an inspection report for Sunset Manor on May 27, 2021. According to the county, Bell was acting administrator at the time the cease-of-admissions order was put in place.

"We are pleased that recently Sherry Bell accepted the position of full-time administrator in the home. Sherry’s long-term care and management expertise is extremely valued," said Sinclair.

Bell is a registered nurse with 25 years of experience in long-term care and served as administrator at Georgian Manor in Penetanguishene for several years.

“We are working very diligently and collaboratively to return the home to full compliance and are hopeful our efforts will lead to good news soon,” said Sinclair.

Across Ontario, Sunset Manor is the only long-term care home with a cease-of-admissions order in effect.

Sunset Manor is one of four long-term care homes operated by the County of Simcoe. The others include Trillium Manor in Orillia, Georgian Manor in Penetanguishene and Simcoe Manor in Beeton.


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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 12 years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood, County of Simcoe and education.
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