Meeting on Rainycrest slated Nov. 17

A meeting between the province, the Rainycrest board of management, and district municipal leaders has been schedule for next Thursday (Nov. 17) to discuss the future of the local long-term care home.
But for now, the public will be excluded from those talks.
“The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will be providing an update on the home—kind of a status report on compliance and operations,” ministry spokesperson Dave Jensen said.
“They’ll be providing this to Rainy River District Municipal Association representatives and the Rainycrest board of management,” he added. “This is an internal meeting and is not open to the public.”
“We [the Rainycrest board] has asked the ministry to come down to give us a report on the compliance issues,” noted Fort Frances Mayor Dan Onichuk, who also chairs the board.
“We’ve invited the leaders of all the municipalities in the Rainy River District to have an open discussion,” he added.
The ministry took control of Rainycrest back on March 18 and appointed Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. here as interim administrator to run the day-to-day operations until a permanent solution could be found.
Representatives of Riverside have not been invited to next Thursday’s meeting.
“Riverside is a subcontractor. It doesn’t have a stake in this at all,” Mayor Onichuk said. “Rainycrest belongs to the municipalities, not Riverside.”
“There hasn’t been much information released to the board of management since March 18,” noted Atikokan Mayor Dennis Brown, who is vice-chair of the board.
“We’re kind of anxious to meet with the ministry and see where we’re at,” he added.
At the time the ministry took control of Rainycrest, admissions had been suspended for a month and the home’s administrator, Jill Colquhoun, had announced her retirement.
The suspension on admissions was lifted in September—a sign that the home was moving towards meeting ministry standards of care and operations.
Before assuming control of Rainycrest back in March, the ministry had put out a call for management proposals.
Both Riverside and the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board, as well as Extendicare, a private health care company, submitted proposals for running the home.
After examining the three proposals, the Rainycrest board recommended the one from the local DSSAB.
But rather than select one of the proposals, the ministry decided to temporarily take control of the home and appoint Riverside as interim administrator.
Mayor Onichuk explained Rainycrest will return to the hands of district municipalities on March 19, 2006—one year after the ministry had assumed control, in accordance with the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act.
At that time, the municipalities may choose to go forward with one of the three original proposals, or return to the previous model of running Rainycrest as before (i.e., through a board of management made up of municipal reps and provincial appointees).

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