Deal in the works to keep long-term care home open, Neguac mayor says

Deal in the works to keep long-term care home open, Neguac mayor says

One of two specialty nursing homes in New Brunswick that was stripped of its operating license last month is scheduled to remain open, says the mayor of Neguac in northeast New Brunswick.

A “well-known” New Brunswick entrepreneur plans to take over Villa Neguac and keep the house open, Georges Savoie said.

While the Department for Social Development will not confirm discussions about a potential new owner, it says it is monitoring the situation and allowing 16 residents of Villa Neguac and Foyer St Bernard to stay there until the houses’ future is settled .

Villa Neguac and Foyer St. Bernard, both in Neguac, were due to close their doors on February 17 after the Department of Social Development announced it had revoked operating licenses for the two homes to protect the well-being of residents protection.

The announcement meant a total of 29 residents housed in the two houses would have to be relocated before the closing date.

However, Villa Neguac is set to remain open until the house is expected to be sold to a new owner, Savoie said in an interview on Wednesday.

Neguac Mayor Georges Savoie said he expects a deal to save one of the two care homes facing closure to be finalized this week. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

“For me, it’s a kind of miracle that someone stepped in and found the solution in the last few minutes,” he said.

Savoie said the deal is still being finalized but he expects it to happen in the next few days or even hours.

“They are awaiting final details on provincial licensing … and we hope that in the next few hours or days it will all be finalized and the department will be able to officially announce that it is final.”

CBC News asked the Department for Social Development to interview Dorothy Shephard, the Minister.

Residents are allowed to stay for now

In an email, spokeswoman Rebecca Howland said the department would not comment at this time on discussions about a potential new owner for a dedicated care home in Neguac.

However, the 16 residents who still live in the two houses were allowed to stay “until the situation about the future of these facilities is clarified,” she said.

“We recognize the importance of dedicated care homes to New Brunswick communities and much work is currently being done to ensure the service can be sustained in Neguac.

“The Department of Social Development will continue to closely monitor the situation at existing facilities in Neguac to ensure residents are receiving the care and services they have come to expect.”

allegations by employees

The department said it revoked operating licenses for the two homes on Jan. 17 to protect the well-being of residents.

The move came after a department investigation found the homes did not meet certain standards that must be followed by special care homes in the province.

However, the Minister for Social Development has declined to say exactly what those standards were.

According to the New Brunswick Business Registry, the two houses are owned by Amarjeet Singh Jatana.

And the registration certificate allowing them to operate was issued to Amit Singh Jatana, Bhajan Kour and Ravinder Pal Singh, according to the Ministry of Social Development.

Amarjeet Singh Jatana is listed on the New Brunswick Business Register as a director of Villa Neguac and Foyer St. Bernard. (Radio Canada)

Jatana has not responded to repeated calls since the homes were announced to be closed last month, and he has not responded to an email sent by CBC News on Wednesday.

A current and former employee of Villa Neguac and Foyer St. Bernard have told CBC News that bills for food, electricity and waste services at the homes went unpaid in the months before the licenses were revoked.

This led to food not being delivered to homes, garbage piling up and staff and residents fearing NB Power could shut off power to homes.

Foyer St. Bernard not part of the deal

While Villa Neguac is part of the expected deal, Foyer St Bernard will be left out, Savoie said.

He said Foyer St Bernard is an older home and lacks some features that most modern care homes are built with.

Although the 23-bed home is expected to remain closed, the two remaining residents may be accommodated at Villa Neguac, along with any residents who previously left Villa Neguac but wish to return.

Foyer St. Bernard is one of two specialist care homes that have had their operating license revoked by the Department for Social Development. (Michèle Brideau/Radio Canada)

“They say there’s enough space for all of them to stay in the region and it seems a priority … for them to get back to the region [and live] at the villa,” said Savoie.

With Foyer St Bernard possibly never opening its doors again, Savoie said the next priority will be to build another house to maintain capacity for dedicated care home beds in the village.

“There were 53 beds. We hope to have the same number and more in the region because we need them. They were there before and they were full.”

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