Jeff Green | Dec 06, 2007
Feature Article - December 6, 2007 Back toHome Editorial - December 6, 2007 Frontenac County Should Support Pine Meadow Editorial by Jeff Green
One item that was not included in the $35 million Frontenac County draft budget last week was any money for the Pine Meadow Nursing Home.
Representatives from the home had asked for a commitment of $25,000 each year for 10 years to help cover costs for planned renovations. A similar request was made to Lennox and Addington County.
County council should seriously consider this request.
Even if Pine Meadow is located outside of Frontenac County, it serves people from both Central and North Frontenac, and the county funds two other institutions that are not located within its own boundaries.
The Kingston hospitals, which will be receiving $54,000 each year from Frontenac County for the next 10 years, are located outside of the county but were successfully able to argue that they serve county residents.
The case of Fairmount Home, which serves the same population of seniors that Pine Meadow serves, makes for a more complicated comparison. Fairmount is located outside of Frontenac County, just as Pine Meadow is, but Fairmount is owned and managed by Frontenac County.
The complex long-term care sector in Ontario includes private for profit, not for profit, and municipally owned homes, and municipalities are required to support the municipal sector. This can be done through financial support to a home owned by a neighbouring municipality, or as in Frontenac County’s case, by owning and supporting a facility.
This year county ratepayers will spend over $1 million helping to make Fairmount Home a caring facility for the aged. From the limited exposure I have had to Fairmount Home, and from anecdotal reports I've received from people who have made use of the home, it is far superior to comparable institutions in the Kingston region, and the money county ratepayers spend each year on the home help the staff to concentrate on care.
However, the request from Pine Meadow, a 72-bed facility, is only $25,000 - 40 times less than the county will spend on Fairmount this year.
Pine Meadow is a community owned, not-for-profit home, but it is not part of the municipal system, so Frontenac County has no obligation to provide support.
But for families who need long-term care, distance from the community is the major factor, and people in the northern part of the county use Pine Meadow Home to care for their aging relatives. They reasonably expect that some of their tax dollars should be spent supporting Pine Meadow.
The county is also looking at some neat new ideas in IT, such as video-conferencing equipment at a cost of $22,000.
There were some indications at last week's preliminary budget meeting that county council might look favourably on the Pine Meadow request.
Here's hoping they do