No involvement

Dear editor:
There has been considerable miscommunication lately regarding the Rainycrest/Riverside amalgamation. As board chair, I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
Rainycrest board of management and Riverside commenced discussions in 2004 with regard to amalgamation or another form of working together in our district. Early on, it became apparent that we would have difficulty dealing with the demands of the board of management, which were to essentially replace the Riverside board with municipally-appointed members.
These discussions did not last very long.
Subsequent to these initial meetings with the board of management, Riverside held our own meetings with the municipal members in March, 2005 and we obtained motions from each council to endorse appointing Riverside as operator and manager of Rainycrest and instruct the board of management to inform the ministry of this decision.
The board of management ignored these motions from the municipalities and recommended to the ministry that the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board be appointed as operators of Rainycrest.
It was stated by the board of management this was based on their interpretation that Riverside could not tax any municipalities and, therefore, would not receive any funds from any municipalities.
It should be noted that according to legal opinions we have received that there were many ways the issue of taxation could have been accomplished.
It should also be noted that if Rainycrest and Riverside were combined, the municipal contributions would represent less than two percent of the total operating budget of Riverside and we could not allow a take-over of our volunteer by municipal representatives.
On March 18, 2005, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care seized control under Section 30:12 of the Homes for the Aged Act and appointed Riverside as their manager for a period of one year. The ministry identified that non-compliance issues were significant enough that residents’ safety was a concern.
In the initial phase, the ministry offered the assistance of Extendicare to Riverside to assist in bringing the home into compliance.
Services from Extendicare were used from March to June, 2005 and the entire management then was turned over to Riverside at that point.
In mid-September, 2005, Riverside had dealt with all the non-compliance issues and the home was reopened for admissions. At this time, the ministry appointed an independent consultant to try to reach a local permanent resolution to the Rainycrest problem.
Riverside made it extremely clear that we would be willing to continue in our role as manager and discuss amalgamation but that given our previous experience, we would not deal with the current board of management under any circumstances.
After an 11-month period of operating the home, Riverside was not invited to submit another proposal for management of Rainycrest, however, RRDDSAB was asked to submit a proposal to manage the home in February, 2006 through the Rainycrest board of management chair, Mr. Onichuk.
It should be noted that the Ministry of Health was in control of Rainycrest and the board of management had no authority to request any proposals. The ministry verified this by re-appointing Riverside to continue operating Rainycrest after March 18, 2006.
Subsequently, through negotiations between Riverside and the ministry and their consultant, and through recommendations of our own consultant, we were able to develop a solution that would appease the municipalities, satisfy the ministry demands for safe resident care, and allow Riverside to develop a true health care system for our communities.
To our knowledge, at no time was it contemplated that Rainycrest would ever be turned back to the board of management. The solution that finally was agreed to is the result of negotiations between Riverside and the ministry; the board of management was never involved in any of these discussions.
The board of management would have you believe that this was their solution; the Board of Management had lost their right to govern and was not involved in discussions that led to the ultimate outcome.
Signed,
Robin Wright
Board chair,
Riverside Health
Care Facilities, Inc.

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