Archive > Vigil for Veterans - 13h30 Nov 8th 2012 Parliament Hill

Changes to veterans program puts Blue Cross workers in limbo

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CVA_Posting:
Changes to veterans program puts Blue Cross workers in limbo

Published on April 9, 201

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2012-04-09/article-2950633/Changes-to-veterans-program-puts-Blue-Cross-workers-in-limbo/1

Changes announced last week to a home-care program for veterans has raised questions about the future employment of 60 Medavie Blue Cross workers in Charlottetown and Moncton.

Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) announced last week it plans to cut down on paperwork and red tape for veterans and offer up-front payments for grounds maintenance and housekeeping services offered through the Veterans Independence Program (VIP). Currently, VAC clients have to pay out of pocket and then submit receipts and wait to receive reimbursement for these services.

The department says changes are being made to make life easier for veterans and to eliminate thousands of unnecessary transactions between veterans and the department every year.

Medavie Blue Cross was contracted by the department to administer the Veterans Independence Program.

Now, the 60 Blue Cross employees in P.E.I. and New Brunswick who work exclusively on this program are wondering if they may be laid off.

An e-mail was sent out advising workers of the changes, and last week a company official spoke to the employees in Charlottetown.

Patti Faith, communications director for Medavie Blue Cross, said no decisions have yet been made regarding the futures of these workers, but a transition plan is currently being developed.

“We have certainly walked them through that there were going to be some changes and that we were going to develop a transition plan. Those changes won’t take effect until later this year, is our understanding, so we do have some time to develop that transition plan.”

Faith added there has been not yet been any impact to the Blue Cross employees and that once decisions have been made, they will be advised on the rollout of the transition plan.

“We’re a large organization so there’s lots of things that we can look at as part of this,” Faith said.

“We have an excellent workforce in Charlottetown so certainly as we’re looking at the various options. We will absolutely keep that in mind as well.”

In Charlottetown, 38 employees work on the Veterans Independence Program and another 22 work on this program in Moncton.

The Veterans Independence Program is a national home-care program provided by Veterans Affairs Canada for vets with health-related needs.

The new up-front payments for housekeeping and grounds maintenance services will be based on each individual’s needs and the local going rates for these services.

Veterans will receive their new up-front payments through two instalments each year.

“Veterans have told us they want a more hassle-free service from the department and we are taking action. The new payments will eliminate unnecessary paperwork for approximately 100,000 Veterans and their families,” said Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney in a government news release issued last week.


twright@theguardian.pe.ca

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