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Veterans Affairs rejects 94-year-old war hero's request for care

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Halifax WW2 vet Alan Sagar fights for place in Camp Hill

Post by Guest on Mon 13 Jun 2016, 10:08

Halifax WW2 vet Alan Sagar fights for place in Camp Hill.

British navy vet came to Canada too late to meet Veterans Affairs conditions.

The wife of a Second World War veteran living in Halifax says bureaucratic barriers are preventing her husband from accessing the care he wants.

Margaret Sagar's husband, Alan Sagar, served in the British Royal Navy from 1943 until the end of the war.

Unlike his contemporary Petter Blindheim who was initially denied care at Halifax's Camp Hill Veterans Memorial Hospital because he served in the Norwegian military while that country was occupied by Nazi Germany Sagar faced few obstacles in getting recognized as an Allied war veteran.

"It was done very quickly," Margaret Sagar told CBC's Information Morning.

But her husband still has been denied a place at Camp Hill.

The reason? He's Canadian now but he wasn't during the war.

"There was no question about him being an Allied war veteran, but then they turned around and said, 'Well, he still can't go there because he wasn't Canadian'."

The situation is ironic, she said, because her husband served in the Canadian Forces after the war as an instructor in the fleet diving unit. He rose to became the unit's commanding officer.

Alzheimer's, Parkinson's

Meanwhile, Alan Sagar continues to fight the effects of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and he and his wife want him to stay at home as long as possible.

Margaret Sagar worked at Camp Hill in the 1980s as the coordinator of volunteer services. She reached out to staff to be assured her husband could have a place at the facility for respite, or long term if his condition gets worse.

His status as an Canadian serviceman secured some of the care he needs, including assistance with home-care, day programs and physical rehabilitation.

But it doesn't secure his place at Camp Hill.

Entitled to a bed, but not at Camp Hill

Camp Hill operates as part of the QEII Health Sciences Centre, but admissions are handled by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Veteran Affairs said Allied veterans in Canada are entitled to long-term care in a "community bed" in a place like a nursing home, but not to a bed in Camp Hill.

"Community facilities with contract beds (like Camp Hill) [are] designated through contractual arrangements with the province, health authority and/or facility for priority access of Second World War and Korean War Veterans of Canada's Armed Forces," department spokesman Marc Lescoutre said in a statement.

"While we always work to deliver the support a veteran and his/her family needs, it is not always possible to do so in a specific facility of a veteran's choosing."

Lapel pin for service

For now, Alan Sagar cherishes one concrete reminder that Canada has recognized his status as a veteran. Then Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave him a lapel pin and certificate of honour in recognition of his military service.

Margaret Sagar wants recognition with more tangible benefits for her husband.

"I do wonder how much bureaucracy and how much office time was used to process all those [lapel pins and certificates] and how much better the money could have been spent in looking after veterans' care."


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Re: Veterans Affairs rejects 94-year-old war hero's request for care

Post by Guest on Mon 13 Jun 2016, 09:08

It's not coming back! Ottawa would never ever open new hospitals for veterans . The costs alone would be too high.


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Veterans long-term care wings face 'expiry date'

Post by Guest on Mon 13 Jun 2016, 05:41

'Veterans want to be with veterans' say new generation of vets shut out of wings devoted to their care.

If there's one thing retired Master Corporal Allanah Gilmore can't forget it's that anything could happen at any moment.

As a combat medic for the Canadian Forces, she cared for those wounded after suicide explosions in Afghanistan. Her husband lost both of his legs to a land mine during the same tour of duty. Gilmore had always hoped that if she ever needed long-term care, it would be at a facility dedicated to vets. But like roughly 600,000 veterans, she doesn't have that option.

"I'm highly disappointed," Gilmore said. "These hospitals exist. The programs do exist. Why are we taking away this as an option for families?"

As it stands now, only those who fought in the Second World War and the Korean War are eligible for long-term care homes dedicated to veterans, while anyone who served after the 1953 ceasefire in Korea is not.

More than 1,000 delegates from across Canada will discuss the issue at a Royal Canadian Legion convention in St. John's today.

Members are expected to vote on a resolution to push the federal government to open up access to 15 veterans facilities to all generations before veterans wings become a thing of the past.

"It's an expiry date. Why are the newer generations of veterans not deserving?" Gilmore said. "The difference between having the veterans wings is it's full of veterans. It's being with like-minded people. Maybe you have a wing and half of them have PTSD. Who relates better to someone with PTSD is someone who has been in a similar circumstance."

If veterans wings disappear, all modern-day veterans those who served in the Cold War, peacekeeping missions and in Afghanistan will have to get in line with the general public on provincial wait lists for care. Veterans Affairs will cover the cost if a veteran's illness or injury is related to their service.

Decision made in 1966

It was a decision made half a century ago that's to blame for excluding post-Korean War veterans from the same long-term care as those who came before them.

During the First World War, the federal government operated 44 hospitals across Canada to give treatment to injured soldiers. As universal and provincial health care services evolved, Veterans Affairs Canada said the need for treatment declined. The number of facilities open to veterans reduced and in 1955 there were 18 remaining.

Then in 1966, the Government of Canada decided to transfer all of its federal health care facilities over to the provinces a move that was only recently completed when Ste. Anne's Hospital was transferred to Quebec in April 2016. Part of the agreement was that Second World War and Korean War veterans would have the same priority access to these facilities.

Meanwhile, modern-day veterans have the same access to long-term care as the general public.

Minister of Veterans Affairs Kent Hehr said the system has evolved and what's in place today is much better than the old model.

"In fact, veterans have access to over 1,500 places where they're getting care in their communities, where they can be closer to their families," Hehr told CBC News.

"Our veterans are overwhelmingly happy that they're there. They have access to care in their communities, not in some antiquated place far away from home. It's really actually working quite well."

More than two-thirds of the 6,640 people Veterans Affairs currently supports are in community beds in nursing homes across Canada rather than the remaining 15 provincially operated facilities with veterans wings.

Veterans wings in jeopardy

Veterans facilities are expected to turn into nursing homes for the general public when the last of the Second World War and Korean War veterans are gone.

But the Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre in Ottawa doesn't want to lose a program it calls successful. The head of the centre said it gives a higher level of care for veterans thanks to $8.7 million annually in funding from Veterans Affairs. More than half of its 450 beds are devoted to vets, while the rest are available for the general public.

The centre has developed a reputation for its arts and crafts studios, music therapy, as well as a dedicated psychogeriatric resource nurse who helps veterans with dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder and behaviour issues.

"We have a very valuable asset here," CEO Akos Hoffer said. "You can see how beautiful it is. We also have just the most wonderful staff anywhere here, who now have decades of experience of providing care to veterans to civilians. When it comes to veterans they have unique cultural and clinic needs."

"We are more than willing to work with the province and Veterans Affairs to see if there's a way to extend that benefit to modern veterans as well."

George Couillard, injured in a factory during the Second World War, now lives in the centre's veterans wing. He's upset future generations could miss out.

"It bothers me to be honest with you," Couillard said. "Who else has offered so much for his country? No one else has put his life on the line for his fellow man more than veterans."

Fight to give all generations access

Disappointment over what's being called an "unfair" double standard by some has sparked veteran advocacy groups and politicians to start pushing for change before the veterans wings close.

"I'm hearing from veterans and their families, this is what their parents want and talked about throughout their whole life," said Ray McInnes, the director of the services bureau for the Royal Canadian Legion.

"Many of these people, they served their country, they never asked for any money from the government. No disability pensions or awards. And yet now, they want to go into long-term care, spend their time with other veterans and they're being denied. Let's take care of all our veterans. It's time for policies to change."

Retired Major-General Lou Cuppens would be ineligible to access a veterans' home, despite 38 years of service.

"I feel I should be with my brothers in arms," Cuppens said. "It's like being a member of a very large family. We bond when we start our training. And we bond right through our whole service. We all suffered the same hardships. We have experienced the same combat, strife, the same period of time away from family."

Private members bill for priority status

A stalled Ontario private member's bill proposed giving veterans priority access to jump the wait list in Ontario long-term care homes.

It won all-party support at Queen's Park during second reading in April 2015 but still has to be called to committee, said NDP MPP Cindy Forster, who introduced the bill.

"It's very disappointing," she said."At the same time, this is at a standstill. We have the health system saying the veterans beds aren't even full."

But Ontario MPP Dipika Damerla, who is the associate minister of health and long-term care, said the provincial government is doing its due diligence on the proposed legislation.

"The Liberal government wants to make sure the bill has no unintended consequences," Damerla said.

"To make sure that, as we prioritize people, that people who are in urgent need and in crisis care always have that priority, as well."

The department of Veterans Affairs said that as demographics change, changes may come. If it comes to the point where there is a major problem with veterans accessing long-term care, the department said it will be on their radar.


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Re: Veterans Affairs rejects 94-year-old war hero's request for care

Post by Dannypaj on Sun 12 Jun 2016, 07:25

And while the MVA is here, he should announce that he will allow our fellow Allied Veteran in the care facility he chooses. It is about Quality of Life, did they forget that somewhere in their thought process.
Do not mess with my vets.
CSAT Member

Number of posts : 1152
Age : 41
Location : Halifax
Registration date : 2015-01-29

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Re: Veterans Affairs rejects 94-year-old war hero's request for care

Post by RCN-Retired on Sun 12 Jun 2016, 02:49

This is so frustrating, Hehr has to go! I believe veterans have lost faith in him, consider him a lier, and a poor choice to continue representing us. On a separate topic one would like to slap that smirk right to hell off is face. What an a-hole. Living up to VAC standards deny until they die.
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Location : Vancouver Island
Registration date : 2012-11-14

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Ex-MP Peter Stoffer 'very disturbed' by Petter Blindheim case

Post by Guest on Sat 11 Jun 2016, 18:51

Sorry my last post video of our MVA expired.

I will post the full article from CBC you can scroll down to watch the video with our Minister.

The comments from the video from Facebook were very graphic , lots of Veterans have had just about enough!

It looks like the comments from Facebook have now been deleted.

Hopefully this link video will continue to work.

You may need to hit the play button twice to activate the video , two messages will play prior to the start of the interview.


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Re: Veterans Affairs rejects 94-year-old war hero's request for care

Post by Guest on Sat 11 Jun 2016, 14:51

Nothing is going to change!


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Re: Veterans Affairs rejects 94-year-old war hero's request for care

Post by Guest on Fri 10 Jun 2016, 14:37

Danny as sad as it is, the more I believe nothing is going to change, our best hope was with the liberals and that's following apart. Maybe the mandate letter will pan out who knows but it seems nobody really cares about veterans anymore!


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Re: Veterans Affairs rejects 94-year-old war hero's request for care

Post by Dannypaj on Fri 10 Jun 2016, 07:43

What are the charges for wearing your CF-ones out in public and protesting?
Tired of the mental shit storm created by VAC?
Media relation VAC! I am coming soon to a network near you.
CSAT Member

Number of posts : 1152
Age : 41
Location : Halifax
Registration date : 2015-01-29

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Re: Veterans Affairs rejects 94-year-old war hero's request for care

Post by Dannypaj on Fri 10 Jun 2016, 07:41

My grandfather is a decorated world war one vet, my dad is a full patch decorated Canadian Airborne (prior to the politicians name change, American wings and all, served 28 years and myself, I served in the Navy until involuntarily medically released.

And this is the help I get.
CSAT Member

Number of posts : 1152
Age : 41
Location : Halifax
Registration date : 2015-01-29

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Decorated veteran gains high-profile support in bid to get federal nursing care

Post by Guest on Thu 09 Jun 2016, 15:33

HALIFAX Nova Scotia's premier has joined a growing chorus of voices supporting a 94-year-man seeking a bed in a veterans' hospital after facing a series of regulatory hurdles from federal bureaucrats.
Stephen McNeil said Petter Blindheim, who served with the Norwegian Royal Navy in Second World War convoys, should be admitted to Camp Hill Veteran's Memorial hospital if it's the care he requires.
"Let's be frank, I think all of us think this veteran should be treated with the respect veterans deserve," he said after a cabinet meeting Thursday.
"If he requires support in a long-term care facility and is a veteran, we should be providing it."
Ottawa first refused entry to Blindheim on the grounds that Norway's navy didn't qualify as full-fledged allies, but after retreating on that stance officials told the elderly man he must show he requires special care that provincial facilities couldn't provide.
Blindheim was assessed on Tuesday by a Veterans Affairs nurse and his son and daughter were awaiting word on the outcome on Thursday afternoon.
In the meantime, Blindheim's struggle to get into the Camp Hill Veteran's Memorial Hospital has been attracting high-profile support.
In Norway, national news services have broadcast his story and veterans advocates have been criticizing the Canadian government.

In Halifax, veterans advocate Peter Stoffer weighed in on Thursday, calling on federal Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr to use his ministerial oversight to ensure Blindheim gains one of the 13 empty beds.
Standing in front of the hospital, Stoffer said Blindheim is an allied hero who has been insulted by statements suggesting he didn't qualify.
According to the Norwegian embassy, Blindheim served with distinction on several ships of the Royal Norwegian Navy, including two ships sunk by the Nazis. On the first occasion, he successfully disabled a depth charge whilst the ship was sinking, preventing further loss of life.
He was awarded the third highest Norwegian war decoration on Sept. 3, 1943.
Stoffer said the delays in refusals are likely tied to Ottawa's determination to begin winding down the federally funded "contract" beds that provide some of the country's best nursing home care.
"It's a cost-saving measure. ... This is nonsense. It's not how we treat heroes," he said.
The Camp Hill hospital is considered the "platinum" of nursing care homes in Canada and Blindheim should be permitted to take advantage of it, said Stoffer.
According to a spokesman for the Nova Scotia Health Authority, which operates the veteran's hospital with the federal funding, the daily amount devoted to patients at Camp Hill is about $400, while residents of provincial nursing homes are cared for with an average of $250 daily.


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Veterans Affairs to rule on whether to admit decorated Halifax veteran to care

Post by Guest on Thu 09 Jun 2016, 12:26

HALIFAX -- A family's battle to gain entry to a veterans' hospital for a 94-year-old man decorated for his service in the Second World War could have a resolution today.
The son of Petter Blindheim says he's expecting a decision as early as this afternoon on whether Ottawa will relent and let his father receive nursing home care in one of 13 empty beds at the federally funded Camp Hill Veterans' Memorial hospital in Halifax.
Veterans Affairs initially refused to admit Blindheim because his service was as a member of the Royal Norwegian Navy, saying veterans of that force were "resistance" fighters rather than veterans of Allied forces.

Peter Blendheim says the department retreated from that position and is now insisting his father, who has long lived in Canada, meet a fresh hurdle of showing he requires "special care" that isn't provided by a provincially funded nursing home.
Blendheim, who spells his name differently from his father, joined his sister Karen Blendheim-Higgins and veterans' activist Peter Stoffer at a news conference today outside the hospital to urge the federal minister to admit Blindheim.
The siblings said their father performed heroically after his ship was torpedoed and deserves the high quality care available at Veterans' Memorial.
Stoffer, a former NDP veterans affairs critic, says Blindheim's struggle is the latest sign that Ottawa is trying to download the cost of veterans' care onto the provinces by creating bureaucratic entry to the federally funded care.


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Re: Veterans Affairs rejects 94-year-old war hero's request for care

Post by 6608 on Thu 09 Jun 2016, 11:22

94-year-old British war hero ineligible for long-term care in Saint John

By Jericho Knopp, CBC News Posted: Jun 09, 2016 8:00 AM AT

After news that a Norwegian Second World War veteran was denied access to a long-term care facility for vets in Nova Scotia, CBC News has learned of a New Brunswick veteran in a similar situation.

Frank Rusling, 94, was born in the United Kingdom and served in the British Royal Navy for 10 years, including all of the Second World War.

He moved to Canada almost 60 years ago and is a Canadian citizen, but because he served in the British Army, he isn't eligible for long-term care in the Ridgewood Veterans Wing in Saint John.

Elsie Rusling is Frank's wife, and his primary caregiver. They spend their days drinking tea and watching television or reading in their sunroom in Lorneville, overlooking the Bay of Fundy.

Rusling has some difficulty with basic household tasks, but he is still able to live at home. When the time comes, though, they'd both like to see him enter the Ridgewood Veterans Wing.

But when Elsie Rusling talked to a few of her husband's friends at the local Royal Canadian Legion, she learned that may not be possible.

"It was just quite a shock to hear that because he's been very well all his life, very active, but in the last year and a half, he's not so well," she said.

"It just makes you wonder about those things. How are we going to cope?"

Elsie Rusling has not yet formally applied for her husband to get into the wing because he doesn't need it yet, so she hasn't received a formal letter of rejection from Ridgewood.

However, for years, she'd been under the impression that her husband would be welcomed there.

"We've talked about it, and we were always told that the veterans were allowed to go there," she said.

"But when I talked to someone not too long ago, they were told that they are no longer letting British veterans in, only Canadian veterans."

Rusling had a 10-year military career in the Royal Navy, where he worked in visual signalling on ships. He quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a Yeoman of Signals.

His career took him around the world, landing him in many close-call situations in Malta, in battles against German soldiers during World War II.

In fact, many of his stories are chronicled on the Veterans Affairs website, as part of the Heroes Remember series.

After retiring from the navy, he worked as a policeman in England for 10 years before immigrating to Canada. When he arrived, he joined the Canadian Pacific Police and worked with them for 30 more years before retiring at 65.

"I enjoyed every moment of it, I'll tell you that," he said.

Even though his memories were immortalized on the Veterans Affairs Canada website, he is still an allied veteran.

2 types of long-term care

Veterans Affairs says there are two long-term care options for allied veterans.

The first is a community bed: a bed in a community facility not specifically designated for veterans, such as a long-term care unit in the hospital or a nursing home.

"Veterans who served with Allied armed forces, War Veterans who served in Canada only and have a low income, and Canadian Armed Forces Veterans who need care due to service-related disability can receive long term care in a community bed," the department said in an emailed statement.

The other, a contract bed, is available for Canadian veterans who have served overseas, who are income qualified, or who have a disability related to their military service.

For allied veterans, this option is only available if they have special needs that can't be met in a community bed.

Ridgewood Veterans Wing operates contract beds, so Rusling isn't eligible there.

Also, Veterans Affairs states that veterans may be eligible for programs such as the Veterans Independence Program, which provides home care support that can help veterans stay in their own home as long as possible.

Rusling said he has generally been treated with respect, but he said this policy is unfortunate.

"We should all be treated the same. We're doing the same work, we're the same people," he said.

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Feds shift stance on veteran seeking admission to Halifax hospital after outcry

Post by Guest on Tue 07 Jun 2016, 17:56

HALIFAX -- A decorated 94-year-old war veteran who was initially refused admission to a federally funded hospital is now being assessed for entry after a public outcry over his treatment.
But Petter Blindheim's son says the family is still anxiously awaiting word on whether Veterans Affairs will fund his father -- who served on convoys for the Allies as a member of the Norwegian Royal Navy -- for care at the Camp Hill Veterans' Memorial hospital in Halifax.
In initial refusal letters, the department said that because Blindheim went to England and signed up with the Norwegian navy after his homeland was occupied, he was classified as being in the "resistance service" rather than an Allied veteran.

A regulation in the Veterans Health Care Regulations says resistance groups aren't eligible for the benefits.
Peter Blendheim, whose last name is spelt differently from his father's, says he learned Monday the department has shifted its stance and is declaring Petter Blindheim to be an Allied veteran.
However, he has received a followup email saying the department must assess whether Blindheim's health care issues "have increased" and the elderly man requires "specialized care that cannot adequately be provided in a community facility."
A nurse from Veterans Affairs was assessing Blindheim at his apartment on Tuesday afternoon, said the son.
A spokeswoman for federal Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr says she cannot comment on the specifics of the case.
"For privacy reasons, we are not able to comment on a specific case, but rest assured my department works with veterans and their families to ensure they receive the services and benefits to which they are entitled," said Sarah McMaster in an email.
Alupa Clarke, the Conservative critic for Veterans Affairs, says that the department's initial argument that the Norwegian forces didn't form part of the Allies was incorrect and insulting.
"The minister should review the policies to adjust to special circumstances. This man has done venerable action ... He's 94 years old. We should be open minded to specific circumstances where we see a man in need," said Clarke in a telephone interview.
"Take care of him. Bring him in Camp Hill hospital so he can be surrounded by his mates."
Blindheim was commended by the Royal Norwegian Navy for his courage when a torpedo sank a vessel he was serving on in November 1942.

After torpedoes struck the Montbretia, Blindheim ran to the deck and removed a primer from the depth charges he oversaw to help ensure they wouldn't go off and kill sailors in the water as the ship sank.
After the war, he emigrated to Canada.
Jens Inge Egeland, a veterans advocate in Norway, said in an email that the incident has drawn attention in Norwegian media outlets. "Norwegians are very shocked by the unfair rules by the Canadian veterans affairs over who they consider Allied veterans," he said.
Egeland said a reference in the initial refusal letter to Norway having "surrendered" in 1940 is objectionable, as most Norwegians consider that the country continued to fight Hitler's forces through their exiled forces.
An official with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, which operates Veteran's Memorial with federal funding, says there are 175 beds at the hospital.
Everton McLean said 13 beds are currently unoccupied.


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Re: Veterans Affairs rejects 94-year-old war hero's request for care

Post by Guest on Tue 07 Jun 2016, 12:54

This could all have been avoided if our MVA showed some leadership an ordered it done.


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Re: Veterans Affairs rejects 94-year-old war hero's request for care

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