Last evenings clinic was super busy with uninsured refugees, refugee claimants, sponsored persons, landed immigrants in the 3 month wait, and several new categories of uninsured we don’t understand. (In case it matters to Mr Kenny, not one of our 21 patients last night was Roma)
Mr Kenney has claimed that he does not want refugee claimants “taking us for suckers” and getting “better care benefits” than Canadians. I know he said it because I watched him stand up in our Parliament and say it. He claims Refugees got better care than Canadians before he beat his chest and introduced his IFH “reforms” He did what he did to ensure it wasn’t so, and look like Captain Canada and protect us all. Hogwash and hyperbole (thanks for that word).
The fact is is, IFH was never like that, never better than what Canadians receive. We know, because we work in the system on the front lines, daily. Another fact – no one ( not even the CVC team) wants or expects new Canadians to get “better care” than others. No one is asking for that. Mr Kenney is stooping to scapegoating, story telling and silly spin. Plain and simple – the facts don’t support Mr Kenny.
* some refugees with valid IFH have had it reclassified and cut, without explanation or their knowing. We checked at Blue Cross. Sorry, it’s true.
* a refugee claimant fleeing Mr Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor’s Liberian brutality (he witnessed his brother’s beheading by Taylor’s thugs outside their house) is stripped of IFH after his Canadian failed hearing. He “was not in danger”. He is allowed to work in Canada while appealing. he takes a job, he pays taxes for 5 years, taxes that pay for our healthcare, but he is denied any healthcare coverage when he is ill. He has a hospital bill for over $10,000 for his medical emergency.
* another refugee claimant fleeing Mexico’s drug cartel violence, where his teenage female children who were kidnapped for ransom, is turned down for IFH when our refugee board decides they are not in danger in Mexico. Their claims, while true, are “not severe enough”. They live in a shelter in Toronto now, in one room, trying get the $3000 for the appeal. The girls go to school in Toronto. The man wants to work. He is told by Canada that if he works, he will be deported before his appeals are heard. He works under the table as a mover – no protection. He became ill on the job. He came to clinic.
* doctors who treat an IFH refugee face a Blue Cross and CIC tangled web of appalling bureaucratic obstacles that take an hour to navigate. They turn down the patient unless the patient can provide $50 for an appointment.
* IFH, when given, is for much shorter periods of time. Expiry dates come quickly. Reapplication takes months, is tangled and costly, often requiring a lawyer, and leaves the refugee uninsured and impoverished. Is this incompetence, or planned?
* refugee claimants at the point of Canadian entry describe being told by border officials not to apply for IFH. In the past when they apply at the Border at entry, which is Canadian law that they do so, they receive IFH there. They are now being mislead. They are told not to apply for refugee status at their Canadian entry point. Rather they are told to go to an immigration office and apply once in Canada . They then find out this means they will have to wait at least 6 weeks for their IFH to be approved, rather than get it at the time of entry. This happened to a Nigerian refugee claimant, 39 weeks pregnant, who had to flee to protect her 12 year daughter from Female Genital Mutilation ( Circumcision). Her first child bled to death after the same abusive “surgery”. The delay in her IFH resulted in a $4000 bill for the delivery, and over a month of uninsured status for the newborn – a Canadian now!
* when a refugee claimant with an IFH paper presented to clinic recently with uncontrolled diabetes, Blue Cross was closed. She became ill after 430 pm when Blue Cross closes for the day. When we went on line to check her IFH status she needed the ER), the Blue Cross Web site failed to function, and failed to let us check her health coverage. She had tried 7 clinics, all of whom turned her down for care. Did I mention she was pregnant??
* One time we called Blue Cross and even though the refugee claimant had IFH coverage, we were unable to give care because, according to Blue Cross we didn’t know the valid diagnostic code for her condition ( Blue Cross knew). It took us 2 weeks before we could refer her for care for a facial deforming lesion.
* Once we called Blue Cross for an IFH patient and were told she was covered – today. We were informed that every time she presented for care we would have to call back, present diagnostic codes, and see if she was still covered on that that day. The time consumption, the added staff needed is prohibitive to most family doctors and nurse practitioners. These stumbling blocks severely impair our efficiency to see patients, maintain system through put.
Does this sound like the healthcare system and level of care you receive? Do these patients sound like they are taking us for suckers?