Delta View serves Fraser Health with notice

Funding cuts force mental health residential facility to end its 80-bed contract with the health authority

Michael Wortis visits with his wife Ruth at Delta View Habilitation Centre.

Michael Wortis stares at the captured moments tacked to the wall of his wife Ruth’s room at Delta View Habilitation Centre.

He sees the couple’s ocean kayaking trips, hiking excursions – and the way Ruth danced. Alzheimer’s has robbed Ruth of those memories since 2002 when she was diagnosed.

Five days a week, 75-year-old Michael makes the trek from where he lives in Burnaby to the specialized, mental health residential facility on Burns Drive in East Delta. Ruth arrived there by way of transfer from Riverview Hospital’s geriatric psychiatry building, Valleyview, which permanently closed last fall.

“We were hoping we would have a period of stability after all this moving,” said Michael.

Alzheimer’s is an unpredictable illness. Ruth developed behavioural issues early on. Michael said it would take six care aids to change her diapers on bad days. But Ruth’s regimen has changed since moving to Delta View, reports Michael.

“We have been able to cut down on the medications that she is using,” he said.

He labels Delta View as a world-class facility for Alzheimer’s patients, where staff employ a gentle care philosophy: more personal attention and minimal amounts of drugs and restraints.

On June 18 a new wave of uncertainty hit when Michael learned, in nine months, Delta View’s almost 80 mental health beds will no longer be funded by the Fraser Health Authority. In a letter sent to patients’ families, Delta View stated it was ending its contract with Fraser Health.

Salim Devji, assistant administrator at Delta View, said budget talks between the health authority and the family-run facility broke down after months of back-and-forth negotiations earlier this year.

“Unfortunately all of the [budget] numbers [Fraser Health] gave us were below our cost,” said Devji. “[Fraser Health] sent us a letter stating on March 9 [2012] that the communications on the budget are over and this is your new rate.”

According to Devji, the previous funding rate was set at $315 per bed per day. He said Fraser Health “unilaterally” changed that number to $286 per bed per day, adding that Delta View will operate at a loss for the next nine months.

Dan Kipper, Fraser Health director of Mental Health and Substance Use Services, could not confirm what the new rates are; however, he did say Delta View’s budget was lowered to bring support costs in line with comparable residential programs funded by Fraser Health.

“Delta View certainly is staffed higher and we do fund that,” said Kipper. “And part of our negotiation we actually added in dollars for the staffing. [Delta View] wanted to go to more of a professional mix so we agreed to increase funding to fund an all nurse program versus LPN.”

Devji defended Delta View’s staffing levels – a ratio of one care-giver for every six residents – saying the state-of-the-art facility has extended patients’ lives by decades. Residents are kept physically and socially active through music therapy programs and other rehabilitation therapies.

Fraser Health is now tasked with finding mental health beds in the region by March 31 for displaced Delta View patients.

“Once we have those sites identified and the contracts negotiated we will be certainly letting families know and discussing it and doing transition planning with the families to facilitate the transfer of the patients from Delta View to those sites,” said Kipper.

As for the soon-to-be vacant Delta View Habilitation Centre, Devji said they will move to a private-pay model. Currently Michael pays $1,000 a month for Ruth’s bed at Delta View – an incredible bargain he said. Now he is left wondering where Ruth will be moved to next.

“Of course I’m worried,” he said. “I’m not looking forward to that day. I think [Fraser Health] ought to save [Delta View Habilitation Centre].”




Just Posted

Police watchdog investigating after pedestrian struck and killed in Surrey

IIO investigating after male killed in crash shortly after being released from police custody

Surrey Mounties say 40 intoxicated teens found on ‘party bus’ in Newton

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Strawberry Hill

PHOTOS: Players putt their way to Las Vegas at Surrey MSOP tournament

Two-day regional qualifier held at Eaglequest Coyote Creek

B.C. cabinet minister denies that Surrey mayor’s friend attended government meeting

Surrey councillor questions Vancouver businessman Bob Cheema’s involvement in official meeting

Electric car-share company to bring 2,000 vehicles to Surrey/White Rock

SUMO is to launch next year with 150 vehicles, and increase to 2,000 by 2022

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

Grand opening of Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery at Chilliwack cause for celebration

Ribbon-cutting with dignitaries, Molson brass and family marked the official grand opening

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

B.C. Ferries wants input on concepts for a Horseshoe Bay terminal re-design

Ferry corporation accepting public feedback until Oct. 13

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Most Read