Nov 30, 2017

Controversial Aged Care CEO Quits

Gary Barnier, CEO of Opal Aged Care, has resigned after seven years in the role.

Barnier plans to stay on in an advisory role with Opal during a three-month transition, with his intended departure date expected to be next March.

Mr Barnier said that it was a “difficult decision” to resign, in a memo left for his staff.

“We have built an outstanding reputation for quality and hospitality that is second to none,” he said.

He says that $900 million of new aged care developments was a proud achievement for the company.

Opal Aged Care said in a statement that Mr Barnier had left the company to pursue other opportunities in the healthcare industry.

There has been no news as to whether he will remain on two federal committees that advise the government on aged care policy — the Aged Care Sector Committee and Aged Care Financing Authority

Barnier is no stranger to scandal – with ABC’s 7.30 airing a two-part special about allegations against Opal Aged Care and Barnier himself.

Two Victorian families said they had been bullied by Barnier when they were concerned of the quality of care their loved ones received.

7.30 took some hefty allegations to Gary Barnier, who took account for the actions of his employees and the organisation.

As the CEO, Gary Barnier openly said that his staff “didn’t do enough” and that some staff actions were “unacceptable”.

There was a specific situation, where an elderly woman’s diabetes was so poorly managed that she ended up being rushed to hospital with blood sugar five times the accepted level – only to later die in hospital, which resulted in her son speaking directly with Barnier.

According to the son, Barnier offered a financial “token gesture”, because the family were in so much pain.

When questioned, Barnier admitted that “at the time, it was my personal judgement that it was appropriate given the circumstances that he raised with me”.

“There are times where we don’t hit the mark, and it’s not acceptable and I should stand up for it and I should be held accountable – and I’m here for that,” Barnier said.

After the 7.30 special aired on the ABC, the Opal board commissioned an independent review “into clinical leadership, customer service and complaints management”.

According to an Opal Aged Care spokesperson, the findings of that review are yet to be finalised.

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