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25-year contract at seniors' home draws criticism

 

St. Lambert facility to be built as public-private partnership

 

By AARON DERFEL, The GazetteApril 10, 2009Comments (3)

 

On paper, at least, Quebec's first health-care public-private partnership seems like a sure winner for the taxpayer.

 

The provincial government and the family-run operator of a chain of seniors' homes are to sign an agreement next week for construction of a long-term care centre in St. Lambert.

 

Groupe Savoie is to build a nursing home with 200 places, opening in October 2010. Under the $200-million contract, Groupe Savoie will care for and feed the elderly residents, as well as provide maintenance to the building, for a period of 25 years.

 

Groupe Savoie was among four groups that competed for the contract and its bid was the lowest by far - one health-care union claimed it was as much as $200 million cheaper than the next closest submission. An official with the Agence des partenariats public-privé disputed that report, but did say Groupe Savoie's bid came in significantly lower than the others.

 

"I find it bizarre that the unions are demanding the government pay more for a transaction," said Hugo Delaney, a spokesperson for the provincial agency.

 

People who live in a Centre d'hébergement et de soins à longue durée (known as a CHSLD) have lost considerable mobility and require intensive care. It costs the government an average of $55,000 a year to care for each patient. Under the Groupe Savoie contract, it will cost $40,000 a year per patient.

 

Yet an elected representative of the local health board said he has grave concerns about the St. Lambert project - from cost to quality of care.

 

Colin Coole is a longtime advocate for the rights of patients, having also sat on the board of directors of Charles LeMoyne Hospital in Greenfield Park. Coole said he was stunned to learn Groupe Savoie will retain ownership of the nursing home after the 25-year contract expires.

 

Normally, under a public-private partnership a private consortium builds a facility and leases it back to the government for a certain period, after which the state gains ownership.

 

"I think that's a travesty for all taxpayers," Coole said. "I can't believe the government won't own the building at the end of the agreement. That's why I'm suspicious about the bid being lower. It's never happened before in a PPP."

 

Coole said he can't understand how Groupe Savoie can turn a profit yet charge the government such a relatively low rate per resident without compromising quality of care.

 

"The number of nurses and orderlies that serve patients in government-run CHSLDs are stretched to the limit," he noted.

 

"In a private-sector environment, obviously, profit has to be made. So consequently, how can a private enterprise guarantee that service won't be diminished for the patients?"

 

Coole noted that some privately run seniors' residences charge patients and their families extra for services, and he wondered if that might be the case with Groupe Savoie.

 

He also said he was worried that less-experienced staff might be hired at lower wages.

 

Eddy Savoie, founder of the company that bears his name, refused to comment on the project until the agreement is signed. But he did say the future CHSLD will provide an average of 3.44 hours of daily care to each resident.

 

Groupe Savoie owns and operates 11 seniors' homes under the banner Residences Soleil. The company has won several awards, and court records show it has never been sued.

 

"We started in 1988," Savoie said. "I built my first seniors' residence for my parents because I couldn't find any place in Quebec that had all the services I wanted."

 

Although much public attention has focused on Montreal's two superhospital projects (to be built as PPPs), the St. Lambert nursing home is the first health-care PPP to get off the ground. The government is using it as a model to proceed with three other CHSLDs across Quebec.

 

But Coole said he fears the government is setting a bad precedent.

 

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© Copyright © The Montreal Gazette

 

http://www.montrealgazette.com/Health/year+contract+seniors+home+draws+criticism/1483550/story.html

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  • 2 weeks later...
Le coup d’envoi du CHSLD de Saint-Lambert est donné

 

file20090424164805.jpg

Nathalie Savoie, du Groupe Savoie; le maire Sean Finn; la ministre Lise Thériault; Eddy Savoie; la députée Nicole Ménard; Eddy Jr Savoie; et la pdg de l’Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de la Montérégie, Claire Pagé, lors de la traditionnelle pelletée de terre marquant le début des travaux.

 

Ginette Claude

Actualités - Publié le 24 avril 2009 à 16:47

 

SAINT-LAMBERT. C’est aujourd’hui qu’a eu lieu le coup d’envoi du projet de construction du CHSLD de Saint-Lambert en partenariat public-privé (PPP). On parle d’un ajout de 200 places d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée. La ministre déléguée aux Services sociaux, Lise Thériault, et la députée de Laporte et ministre responsable de la Montérégie, Nicole Ménard, étaient présentes.

 

La réalisation du projet est estimé à 200 M$. Rappelons que le Groupe Savoie (Les Résidences Soleil) aura la responsabilité de la conception, de la construction, du financement, de l’entretien, du fonctionnement et de la prestation des soins et services cliniques, et ce, pour une durée de 25 ans.

 

«Ce mode de fonctionnement (PPP) permettra d’offrir des soins de même qualité que dans nos CHSLD publics, privés conventionnés ou résidences privées car toutes les exigences de performance exigées du partenaire privé et le suivi effectué par le gouvernement correspondent aux mêmes standards de qualité que ceux que l’on retrouve partout ailleurs dans notre réseau», d’indiquer la ministre Lise Thériault.

 

Le chantier devrait permettre la création de quelque 125 emplois. Ce n’est que vers la fin de 2010 que le nouveau CHSLD pourra accueillir ses résidents.

 

http://lecourrierdusud.canoe.ca/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=93283&id=840&classif=Nouvelles

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