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Care facilities face increased scrutiny

Feb 16 2012

Vancouver Island Health Authority will soon begin routine inspections and reporting of residential care facilities that have escaped such scrutiny under B.C.'s Hospital Act.

The province and health authorities have been working to address the issue, which was raised by B.C.'s ombudsperson, Kim Carter, in her report on seniors' care released Tuesday.

"We will begin routine inspections of Hospital Act sites in the very near future and will begin to post the information on our website in the same way we report on the Community Care and Assisted Living Act sites," VIHA spokeswoman Shannon Marshall said Wednesday.

Care facilities regulated under the CCALA are required to be regularly inspected by health authorities, which make inspection data public.

However, facilities governed under the Hospital Act, home to about a third of the province's residential care clients, are not required to make such data public and immediately report such incidents, Carter's report said.

"This is a serious shortcoming in the oversight that applies to these facilities," the report said.

Facilities that fall under the Hospital Act include: Saanich Peninsula Hospital; The Priory in Langford; Cairnsmore Place in Duncan; Dufferin Place in Nanaimo; plus Mount Tolmie, Mount St. Mary, Glengarry and Gorge Road hospitals in Victoria.

With the exception of Vancouver Coastal Health, health authorities have not regularly inspected such facilities, despite being delegated the responsibility by the province in 1997, the report said.

Carter recommended that the Ministry of Health require authorities to provide it with inspection information for all Hospital Act facilities on a quarterly basis and that the facilities be inspected with the same frequency as those regulated under the CCALA, starting immediately.

B.C.'s Health Ministry is working to bring Hospital Act facilities under the auspices of the CCALA over the next two years.

The ministry said regular inspections are required regardless of which piece of legislation governs them.

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