Rainycrest to weigh Riverside partnership

Rainycrest Home for the Aged will be hiring a private firm to provide interim management services there, with an eye to possibly strike a partnership with Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. in the long run.
At a special meeting Tuesday morning, Rainycrest’s board of management voted that a proposal received from Extendicare Inc. on Oct. 21 “be pursued with a view to providing interim management services to Rainycrest Home for the Aged.”
Extendicare is a Markham, Ont.-based company that owns and manages more than 60 long-term care facilities serving roughly 7,800 residents in six provinces from coast-to-coast.
The company also manages nursing and retirement homes and hospitals across the country for several not-for-profit boards, and provides consulting services to owners of long-term care facilities and hospitals.
Rainycrest’s board of management also passed a motion stating they proceed with negotiations with the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. “in an attempt to form a future partnership/merger.”
000200000436000004A1430, But whether or not there would be any attempt at this partnership wasn’t clear until after Tuesday’s meeting.
At a special meeting of Riverside’s board of directors on Oct. 7, it passed a motion stating “that the board authorize administration to commence negotiations with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the affected municipalities, and Rainycrest, with a view to the amalgamation of Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. and Rainycrest Home for the Aged.”
Riverside chair Craig Sanders sent a letter to the Rainycrest board dated Oct. 13 telling it of the motion, and then another Oct. 29 to district municipalities.
“On discovering that Rainycrest was considering the possibility of privatization, Riverside expressed our concern, and our interest in investigating a total integration of the facilities so that Rainycrest could remain in public hands,” the Oct. 29 letter read.
Sanders noted that over the summer, Riverside had a consultant do a cursory review of the two organizations in an attempt to determine if complete integration was feasible.
000200000628000008D1622, The consultant’s’ draft response then was returned to Riverside expressing concerns “mainly for the financial health of Riverside should this integration proceed.”
“We continue to believe, however, that under the right circumstances, integration is the best solution to meet the long-term care needs of district residents,” Sanders wrote.
But Rainycrest board chair Dennis Brown wrote a letter dated Nov. 5 in response to the Oct. 29 letter, noting he and the board were somewhat surprised by it after having a discussion with Sanders and Riverside CEO Wayne Woods at a meeting Oct. 25.
“During the meeting, we explained that we were receiving information from at least two other groups in addition to Riverside’s expression of interest for the management of Rainycrest Home for the Aged and providing other ways to reducing costs,” Brown wrote.
“We informed the group from Riverside that Nov. 1, 2004 was the deadline for the board to receive the information, and that we would inform Riverside of our decision after our next board meeting,” he added.
Brown had noted the next Rainycrest board meeting was Nov. 9, at which time it would consider all information and decide on the next steps.
“It is my belief that the Rainycrest Home for the Aged board members wish to involve Riverside Health Care [Facilities, Inc.] as their first choice if it makes good sense to do so,” Brown wrote.
“However, we feel we need to consider the other information as well. After Nov. 9, 2004, our course of action should be much clearer,” he added.