Microsoft word - access alliance letter re ifh changes 05 10 2012 aa
The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Citizenship and Immigration Canada Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1
Dear Hon. Mr. Kenney, We are writing to express our grave concern with the changes being made through an Order in Council respecting the Interim Federal Health (IFH) Program 2012 – PC 2012-433 that will take effect June 30, 2012. We are a first contact health care SPO with over 20 years of experience working with refugees. In that time, we have been providing primary health care, promotion and prevention services which gives us an on the ground perspective of the very damaging effects these changes will have for the health of refugees, citizens and the economic prosperity of this country. We understand these changes are being implemented as:
a) a cost-saving measure; b) a process to ensure fairness within the system; c) a disincentive to “people who may be considering filing an unfounded refugee claim in
In fact this Order of Council falls short in achieving the above list and is both discriminatory and fails to makegood economic sense. The following highlights our trepidation regarding the cuts to IFH:
Denying access to preventative medication results in a greater burden on the health systemand less productivity in the economy.
Studies consistently show that that preventative medications decrease doctor
and emergency room visits and are far less costly to the system than hospital stays and surgeries when preventable illnesses are left untreated.
In our primary care service, we will lack the ability to provide the complete
model of care essential to positive health outcomes. In this scenario, a chronic condition may be identified, but the medication needed would not be accessible to the patient.
Government assisted refugees (GARs) have high rates of chronic and mental
illnesses due to their persecution and migration. The treatment of their health
relies upon access to medication and assistive devices. Inability to access these often results in worsening outcomes, higher burdens on the health system and lost productivity in the workforce that will extend far beyond their one year on the program.
Even clopidogrel (Plavix), one of the most expensive medications set to be cut
from IFH, has been repeatedly proven to be definitively cost-effective to the system because it prevents emergency room visits and hospital stays.
Denying access to health services to some individuals and not others is discriminatory.
Historically, Canada has resettled individuals with significant health needs.
Failure to provide basic health remedies does not make sense. The effectiveness of our resettlement programs requires access to devices that allow people to participate and contribute in Canadian society. For example, children with mobility difficulties must have proper assistive devices in order to attend and flourish in school.
Government-assisted refugees do not have access to provincial extended
health benefits through social assistance. These cuts mean that they become the only Permanent Residents who have no possible access to medication or assistive device coverage. Their health will suffer as a result of this inequity.
Furthermore, granting access to health care to individuals from some
countries while restricting access to people from other countries with the same health concern is discriminatory. The result is the creation a two-tiered system of refugee care which is antithetical to Canadian policy.
The proposed changes to the IFH program do not save costs, ensure fairness, or act as a disincentive. Rather, these changes will actually cost our system more and discriminate against some of the most vulnerable people arriving to Canada. We are encouraging you to review and rescind this Order in Council to maintain the non-discriminatory practices and economic prosperity that Canada is recognized for around the world. Sincerely, Johannes Tekle
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