Author Topic: Veterans' Long-Term Care Needs: a Review of the Support Provided by VAC-VIP  (Read 1513 times)

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Veterans' Long-Term Care Needs: a Review of the Support Provided by Veterans Affairs Canada through its Veterans Independence Program

8.0 Conclusion
This Review has examined the Veterans Independence Program and three important areas that affect the way services are delivered to and received by its clients: eligibility, accessibility and cost.
It is apparent from a national client satisfaction survey and a supporting file review that a large majority of Veterans Independence Program clients questioned had no difficulty accessing program services and were able to find the people who could provide them with the services they needed. This is a significant finding and a very positive performance measurement for a government program that services such a large number of Veterans, spouses and caregivers in so many regions of the country. However, the June 2013 edition of the Veterans Affairs Canada Facts and Figures report on National Contact Centre Telephony Results shows that the number of queries for Veterans Independence Program calls represented 22.7 percent of all calls or 46,805 contacts in the first quarter of 2013-14. While being a positive indication of interest/demand, this high figure (more than double the number of calls for the next highest call area, i.e. disability benefits), may be attributable to the recent changes in program delivery (i.e. from the conversion of Veterans Independence Program contributions to grants for housekeeping and grounds maintenance).
The administration of the Veterans Independence Program, which provides benefits to such a wide variety of client groups, requires that the eligibility of each one of its clients be determined according to program and service criteria. It is understood that in the interests of fair treatment and equal access to benefits, clients must be categorized according to program or service requirements. However, these criteria must be reasonable in their application, seek to shed the complexity that has hindered their implementation, and be open to revision when situations arise that make it clear that the existing criteria are outdated, unfair, or inappropriate given the circumstances.
The complexity of eligibility criteria and program administration is also felt by intake officers at Veterans Affairs Canada, who are having difficulty navigating through and cross-referencing the eligibility grids associated with the program. They are also using a “gateway” approach to making certain benefits, such as intermediate care, available to clients who might not otherwise be eligible to access these benefits, but desperately need them.
It is clear that the Veterans Independence Program fills a need for eligible Veterans who wish to remain in their homes receiving assistance that allows them to maintain their health, quality of life, dignity and independence as long as possible. In order to continue to serve the best interests of Veterans in the years to come, however, the Program must be responsive to the issues that have been raised in this Review.

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