THE BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) said that the recommendations made through the Ernst & Young report released on Monday, and those which were outlined in a report made public by 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, the BCCPA said.
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.”
The BCCPA said that since March 2020, it 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 BCCPA said that the fact that it 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 said it is continuing to ask for regular and consistent information sharing between Public Health and the senior care sector. It added that as it has 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,” the BCCPA said.