Despite the fact that other FCSS organizations across the province have lost their home care contracts in the recent past, Rimbey FCSS executive director Peggy Makofka told council she is confident and hopeful that won’t happen in Rimbey.
Makofka, who attended council at its Feb. 24 meeting, has been in touch with members of Alberta Health Services: Ernie Clarke, who handles the contracts, and David O’Brian, a senior vice-president for mental health and health services. While neither has the final say regarding the contracts Makofka says they’ve told her they’re confident FCSS will receive an extension of their contract.
Rimbey FCSS started because of the need for home care services in the community. “A long time ago a group of people had to foresight to form a registered non-profit society in the province of Alberta, and that’s been key to our organization,” said Makofka.
“We’ve had that from the beginning, more than 30 years,” she added.
The contract allows FCSS to provide quality home care services as well as financially provide for its other programs through a surplus the contract creates. “There’s really no place to get that kind of funding so we so continually reinvest it,” she said.
She says, without the home care contract, FCSS would run at a 30 to 40 per cent deficit. “The contract with home care is very important to run the program.”
In the past, through the Rimoka Housing Foundation, Bethany Group guaranteed it wouldn’t challenge FCSS for the contract and despite concerns that promise was re-solidified at Rimoka’s board meeting on Feb. 26. “Yes the agreement was in place with Bethany not to touch home care here . . . Because you guys are a vital part of this community and council recognizes that,” said deputy mayor Jack Webb.
“They do provide a wonderful service in this town and it would be awful if we lost that,” he added.
“As a community I think everybody needs to rally behind them,” said Mayor Rick Pankiw.
Town CAO Tony Goode suggested council draft a letter to Health and Wellness Minister Fred Horne stating their support for the home care contract to stay with FCSS. The idea was met with many nods of approval.