Chairman of the Board of The Pines retirement Alastair Paterson praised recent actions taken by the Cayman Islands Government to support the retirement home.
‘The support we’re now getting is the best it’s ever been,’ he said.
Mr. Paterson’s remarks came after a Cayman Net News columnist on Wednesday said it was an ‘absolute disgrace’ that the government did not subsidise The Pines.
‘We’re not looking for a subsidy. We don’t want to get a government handout for our day-to-day operations,’ Mr. Paterson said, adding that The Pines had not asked the government for a subsidy.
However, the government was asked for other kinds of support, which it has now received.
‘The Pines is a private charity, part of the [National Council of Voluntary Organisations], not a government organisation,’ Mr. Paterson said. ‘We rely totally on fees coming in from private sector residents, fees from government for indigents they refer to us through social services, and from fundraising efforts from the public.’
The government pays the fees for the indigents it refers to The Pines. The government also pays the fees for heavy care patients referred to The Pines by the hospital.
The problem in the past has been that the fees government has paid for the people it refers to The Pines have been considerably below what other residents have paid. The fee structure was set by an agreement made ‘many, many years ago’, Mr. Paterson said.
The fees paid by government for the people it referred to The Pines were not enough to cover the costs to accommodate those people.
‘Because we were working at a negative position, we approached government to increase the fees so we could break even,’ Mr. Paterson said, adding that as a not-for-profit organisation, The Pines was just looking to cover its costs.
After doing what Mr. Paterson called ‘some very serious due diligence and investigation’ into actual costs of accommodating Pines residents on an individual basis, a report was given to government to show the need for an increase in fees.
‘[The government] worked with us very well and as of July 1st, they increased the fees,’ he said. ‘We’re hoping we can now go from a negative position to at least break even, at least with those people the government refers.’
The new fee structure comes as part of a formal, more extensive contract that was signed with Government. The contract will allow for better administration of the relationship between The Pines and government, Mr. Paterson said.
In addition, communication between The Pines and government over the past year is better than it ever has been, Mr. Paterson said, noting that there have been a number of meetings with the Minister of Human Services Anthony Eden and his staff.
‘We are delighted at the working relationship we’ve developed with the Minister, the Ministry and the Department [of Children and Family Services],’ he said, singling out Minister Eden, Children and Family Services Director Deanna Look Loy, and Health and Human Services Chief Officer Dianne Montoya for praise.
‘They’ve worked very hard to help us.’
Because of the positive way things have worked out, Mr. Paterson believes the future of The Pines is brighter.
‘With our new relationship, things can only get better, to the benefit of the senior citizens of the island,’ he said.