Money problems have now forced a Penticton long-term care home out of business.
Interior Health last Friday closed the 20-bed Lakeside Care Residence and moved the three people living there to other facilities in the city.
“It wasn’t anything bad. It wasn’t anything to do with the care of residents,” said a former manager, who asked to remain anonymous because she wasn’t authorized to speak about the situation.
“It was all about doing business.”
In May, Interior Health notified the facility’s owner, Brewster Healthcare Group, that it would not renew its licence next spring due to concerns about the company’s financial viability. The home had 12 residents as of August, but an interim condition was also placed on the licence that forbid Lakeside from accepting new clients, and that hastened its demise, the manager said.
“Obviously there are financial issues when you don’t have that many residents,” the manager said. “Financially with three people? Do the math. It won’t work.”
Interior Health finally cancelled the licence last Friday due to “concerns with staff (members) having appropriate tools and supplies to do their jobs,” and their “ongoing ability to continue to provide care,” said Gretchen Komick, the authority’s acting assistant director of health protection.
Komick said she couldn’t disclose the nature of those concerns, but noted it had nothing to do with the employees’ performance.
“I just want to make sure it’s clear we didn’t have an issue with staff that were on site,” she added.
Brewster Healthcare Group owner John Brewster did not return calls for comment this week.
He told the Western News in August that the dispute with Interior Health arose because he was unwilling to comply with the authority’s requests for financial information pertaining to his unrelated business interests, and that he had a deal in place to sell the facility on Oct. 1, contingent upon the new owner obtaining a licence from Interior Health.
Komick said the new licence was not approved due to a “lack of sufficient information,” and the applicant then withdrew from the process last week.
Eleven people were employed at the site when it closed and their job prospects look good, the former manager said, “because we have such a good reputation as staff.”
The manager is uncertain what will become of the Warren Avenue care home, although Brewster said in August he was considering converting it to an assisted-living facility because it would have less onerous licensing requirements.
Brewster also owned the 16-bed Lakeside Care Residence in Vernon, which closed this fall when the company defaulted on its mortgage and the property went into receivership.