Just the Facts: VAC’s Long Term Care Strategy
Ottawa - 12 October 2010
In the last year Veterans Affairs Canada has been talking about its Long Term Care strategy. Long Term Care is the program (Opens in a new window) that subsidizes and provides access to facilities that look after Veterans who, either through aging and/or sickness can no longer remain in their homes. As the number of Canada’s World War II and Korean War (traditional) Veterans declines, the requirement to maintain this program at its current level is being debated.
Unfortunately the debate behind closed doors may be clear, but what is being presented in public is anything but clear. Those that are speaking out in public leave the impression that all Veterans have access to all facets of the Long Term Care program.
Here is the truth: Yes all Veterans are eligible for Long Term Care. However, the access to facilities depends on a complex eligibility profile table. Of note, from the table, both Traditional War Veterans and CF Veterans have access to Community facilities. Traditional War Veterans have access based on various eligibility criteria, including overseas service, service-related disability, severity of the service-related disability, and low-income; while CF Veterans are only eligible if they have a service-related disability and that disability is the reason why they require Long Term Care. On the other hand, only Traditional War Veterans have access to Departmental Facility and Contract Bed (also referred to as a priority bed). Basically, the eligibility criteria are so restrictive for CF Veterans that it makes the numbers of those who receive it almost negligible. RCMP Veterans do not have any access to Long Term Care benefits.
Here are the facts (for June 2010):
155,700 The total number of traditional Veterans in Canada
593,700 The total number of CF Veterans in Canada
67,512 The number of traditional Veterans that are Veterans Affairs Canada clients
64,028 The number of CF Veterans that are Veterans Affairs Canada clients
17,987 The number of CF Veterans that are Veterans Affairs Canada clients over the age of 70
10,179 The number of veterans (both traditional and CF Veterans) currently in a long term care facility
270 The number of CF veterans currently in a long term care facility.
13.5 % The percentage of traditional Veterans clients that are receiving Long Term Care benefits.
1.5% The percentage of CF Veterans clients that are receiving Long Term Care benefits compared to CF Veterans over the age of 70.
2.7 % The percentage of CF Veterans receiving Long Term Care benefits in comparison to the total population of Veterans in long term care facilities/beds.
So why am I concerned about the current debate?
1. No one is asking the question as to whether Canadian Force Veterans should have greater eligibility for Long Term Care benefits.
2. The “system” is quietly reducing the number of departmental/contract beds available without any public debate which, with time, will reduce the options for the future.
3. Since Veterans Affairs Canada’s Long Term Care strategy for departmental/contract beds only includes traditional Veterans, that facet of the program will more or less die with the passing of the last World War Two or Korean War Veteran. This means that Veterans will no longer receive recognition for their service and have priority access to departmental/contract beds but will have to compete with the civilian population for community beds. Veterans Affairs Canada needs to be clear when it is communicating with Parliament and the public that currently, the departmental/contract beds element of the Long Term Care Program is a “sunset” program which will cease in the near future and there is no intention of opening it up to CF and RCMP Veterans.
I am not necessarily advocating to keeping this program open. That is a choice for Canadians and their elected officials to make. What I am saying is it must be clearly stated to Canadians so that they can objectively decide. Don’t obscure the facts by using the word “Veterans” as if it encompasses all Veterans equally. Those of us that have served are used to having to deal with the hard realities of life; don’t try to sugar coat it to soften the blow. Speak up and state the case clearly. As it stands now, some aspects of Long Term Care Benefits will basically cease with the passing of the last traditional Veteran. Greater eligibility for Canadian Forces Veterans and RCMP is not being considered. Now you know.
Date Modified: 2013-02-07
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Kevin Vallieres said:
To quote from Mr. Stogran's above post "...Unfortunately the debate behind closed doors may be clear, but what is being presented in public is anything but clear...." Personally, my view of things is that before anything can change, Vac must stop the practice of shrouding its business in secrecy. It's time for this dept. to step up and answer to the its clients and the people and government of Canada for the business it conducts.. There is a great gulf fixed between the clients of Veteran's Affairs, the department itself and what Canada wants for her Veterans. And the only remedy for this is transparency, honesty, and integrity. It's time for VAC to step up and give account! Where are our veterans, if not on the books as clients of the dept? How many applications over the years, has the dept. denied? Why is subservient policy, as established by the dept. in total contradiction to the social conscience of the people of Canada and legislation? I've been a client with the dept now for less than 5 months and for the duration of that time, I have been lied to, cheated, my rights as defined by the veteran's bill of rights, has over and again not been upheld. I've been treated unprofessionally, unjustly, and there's not a thing I can do about it or anyone I can turn to... Vac is sick from head to foot and it's time for an overhaul!
November 8, 2010 12:45 PM
L. Jansen said:
Pat, I would like to know the statistics for disabled veterans living in Winnipeg. We are having an election here and I have asked Dean Koshelanyk, running for Counsellor in my ward if he would support the idea for asking the City of Winnipeg to provide free bus service to disabled veterans in Winnipeg. He thought the idea wonderful and submitted a press release. In that Press Release he stated: "They (the vets) have given so much and have asked for so little it is time we give something back." He asked me how many disabled veterans live in Winnipeg - I did not know. So, my question, how many disabled veterans live in Winnipeg? I think you are doing a wonderful job for the veterans. Thank you, L. Jansen
October 27, 2010 3:51 PM
Eric Rebiere said:
If the office of the Veterans Ombudsman represents both military and RCMP veterans/ disabled veterans where are the statistics on the RCMP disabled vets?
October 24, 2010 1:15 PM
In Quebec here we have a situation where the last Federally run verterans hospital in St Anne be Bellevue is to be turned over to the Distinct Society, Nation within a nation Quebec. A province that the Honourable Minister of Veterans affairs states there is "less interest in Quebec" in regard to our veterans. WWII veterans are worried. The negotiators fill our heads with statistics to show how the demand is reduced. When 40 beds are vacant, we hear of waiting lists and veterans not being accepted. The criteria is wrong the Federal Goverment that sent these young men off to war once as cannon fodder is deserting them. All in a way to close this institution down while it is in Quebec hands, to a province that does not give a dam about it veterans. What happened to the words "Responsible Government"?
October 14, 2010 12:25 AM
Janet Sherbanowski said:
My father a WW II vet, just passed on Sunday, he was in his 90th year; we had been waiting for a long term chronic care bed for over 6 years. he passed at home which is truly a blessing. But I see many beds filled with others who did not serve their countries and when we tried Sunnybrook we were told they had no beds; but they were giveing beds to civilians???? There is a commitment or there is not. WE have one foot in and one out....(I mean Canada). The people on those bridges chearing for the body bags need to realize the cost mentally and physically that is paid by those who walk home or come in wheel chairs or will be in bad condition down the road from military service. that has to be done at the political level. Lead the way Pat.
October 13, 2010 2:10 AM