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Notes from our CEO


November 25, 2020

Letter to the Editor - The Toronto Star

lettertoed@thestar.ca

Re: Long-term care fiasco a warning about private ownership by Linda McQuaig, November 18, 2020

I was extremely disappointed to see your newspaper publish an article by columnist Linda McQuaig that contained false and misleading information in an attempt to damage the reputation of private long-term care operators, including Chartwell.

The author’s claim that private companies are maximizing profits by “…scrimping on staff costs …” is false. No profit can be derived from government funding for resident care and programs, as these funds must be invested for such purposes or returned to the government. Several studies1 concluded that direct care hours, average wages and clinical outcomes are consistent among private and not for profit homes.

The author’s claim that Chartwell’s COVID-19 infection rate was 47 percent higher, and fatality rate 68 percent higher than the provincial averages was sourced from another article published more than six months ago. These statistics have never been substantiated and you neglected to validate, let alone update, these claims.

Publicly available data for outbreaks posted on Ontario.ca indicates that Chartwell’s long-term care rate of infection is currently 1.1%, compared to 1.0% for all long-term care properties in the province, and the fatality rate is 4.0%, compared to 3.5% in the province. 14 of Chartwell’s 23 long-term care locations are in the Greater Toronto Area that has faced one of the highest community outbreak rates in the province.

It has been well documented that infection rates and resident mortality at the start of the pandemic were a result of rates of community incidence and transmission, difficulty cohorting residents in older long-term care homes with three and four bed ward rooms, and no testing of asymptomatic staff by public health officials. These points were echoed earlier this week in an opinion piece in your paper by Dr. Bob Bell, Ontario’s former deputy minister of health.

My thoughts are with the loved ones of those directly impacted by this pandemic. Employees in our long-term care homes and our corporate support teams continue to demonstrate tremendous courage and dedication to their residents under these extraordinary conditions. Irresponsible reporting does a huge disservice to the work of the thousands of heroic people in the Ontario long-term care sector.

Vlad Volodarski
Chief Executive Officer

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1 Long-Term Care Staffing Study, July 30, 2020 ontario.ca/longtermcare
Overall Quality Performance of Long-Term Care Homes in Ontario, 2019, HealthCare Quarterly, Vol. 22. No. 2

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