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Fall Update from Friends of Medicare

Fall Update for Friends of Medicare

Hi everyone. If we haven’t met yet, I’m Barret Weber. I’ve been on the board of Friends of Medicare since 2015, and recently became Vice-Chair of the board.

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A lot can happen in two years at Friends of Medicare and I'm happy to serve. Today, I want to provide an update on our recent activity now that everyone is back from summer fun.

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The Cold Lake Lockout is Over

The Cold Lake Lockout is Over

What’s Changed in Continuing Care?

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On June 22 the lockout of staff at the private-for-profit supportive living centre operated by Points West Living in Cold Lake ended. The residents were relieved to see the dispute end and welcomed the staff back.

The settlement is seen by the workers not as a victory, but as a conclusion. Many issues remain. While the staff were seeking measures in the contract to hold the provider accountable for short staffing, they instead will only have a committee to discuss these issues. Some training will be provided to the staff now that they are back to work, but they did not get sufficient training guaranteed in the contract. Short staffing and lack of training continues to be an issue in many private facilities across the province. 

Since the dispute began the facility was found to be non-compliant with AHS standards on multiple occasions. We have been told AHS has been closely monitoring the facility and we hope to see Points West Living meet those standards.

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Our Public Blood System Still Isn’t Protected

Our Public Blood System Still Isn’t Protected

How far will Canadian Plasma Resources expand operations?

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Presenting petitions calling for the ban of blood & plasma in Alberta to Minister Hoffman on the steps of the Legislature with Kat Lanteigne of BloodWatch.org and Marle Roberts with CUPE Alberta.

On March 23 the Alberta NDP government passed the Voluntary Blood Donations Act on third reading, recognizing the role of Canadian Blood Services (CBS) as our sole not-for-profit collector and provider of blood and plasma. The bill introduced by Health Minister Sarah Hoffman banned the sale of blood and plasma in Alberta, allowing CBS to focus on its ambitious plans to more than double voluntary plasma collection. This will reduce Canada’s reliance on the American paid plasma market, where vulnerable populations are taken advantage of to help line the profit margins of a billion dollar industry.

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Summer Update from Friends of Medicare

This is Taylor Pagotto.

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You might be hearing from him over the summer. Taylor is a student in political science at MacEwan University in Edmonton, and Taylor is now working with Friends of Medicare on Outreach & Fundraising. Welcome Taylor!

First order of business, we are reaching out to our members and supporters to encourage participation in our September 28th conference on Universal Prescription Drug Coverage.

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Action Needed in Alberta to Protect Patients and Stop Queue Jumping

Friends of Medicare are calling for government action to investigate and eliminate suspected violations of the Canada Health Act in Alberta.

Surveys of hundreds of private health clinics and patients conducted by the Ontario Health Coalition have revealed that extra user fees amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars are threatening access to health care and hurting patients.

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Voluntary Blood Donations Act Passes Third Reading!

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Canadian Blood Services staff & CUPE member Kim Storebo speaking on the introduction of Bill 3 and the need to support CBS' plans to nearly triple our voluntary collection in Canada.

Voluntary Blood Donations Act Passes Third Reading!

On March 23, 2017 Bill 3, the Voluntary Blood Donations Act passed third reading in the Alberta Legislature, making Alberta the third province to ban the sale of blood & plasma.

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Are Paid Plasma Companies and their Advocates Harming Our Voluntary System?

Are Paid Plasma Companies and their Advocates Harming Our Voluntary System?

It looks like the answer is yes.

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Friends of Medicare Executive Director Sandra Azocar & CBS CEO Dr. Graham Sher
at the June 2016 CBS Board Meeting in Winnipeg.

Canadian Blood Services (CBS), who are the sole collector of blood and plasma for Canadian use, had something to say about this just before the holidays.

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The Year Ahead for Friends of Medicare

The Year Ahead for Friends of Medicare

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Karen Werlin - Friends of Medicare Treasurer

To our members and supporters,

If we haven't met yet I should introduce myself, I'm Karen Werlin, your new Treasurer with Friends of Medicare.

You probably read about our past Treasurer and long-time board member Elisabeth Ballermann moving on after her election to the Secretary-Treasurer position with the National Union of Public and General Employees.

Just recently retired from my work as one of the founding staff and office manager at Public Interest Alberta, I had decided to put some of my newly found free time towards the important work being done at Friends of Medicare. I joined the Board at the May AGM, and was elected treasurer at our September Board meeting.

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3 Reasons the Cold Lake Points West Living Lock-Out is Important for Patient Care

3 Reasons the Cold Lake Points West Living Lock-Out is Important for Patient Care

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 Friends of Medicare supporting the staff on December 28, 2016

With the holidays behind us, many of us were able to reconnect and refresh with family and friends.

For the staff and patients at the for-profit supportive living facility run by Points West Living in Cold Lake, those holiday traditions were disrupted.

Despite extreme cold weather warnings in Cold Lake, the AUPE-represented staff were given lockout notice and sent out of the building on Friday, December 16 at 8:30 a.m. Facing freezing elements and separation from their residents, the staff remained united in their attempt to secure their first contract despite the adversity. Family members and residents approached the picket lines with mitts & snacks along with much-needed encouragement. As of this writing the weather has gotten warmer, but the lock-out continues. Here’s why patient advocates should be paying attention:

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Touring with CUPE Alberta to Stop Long-Term Care Privatization

Touring with CUPE Alberta to Stop Long-Term Care Privatization

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WHY PUBLIC LONG-TERM CARE MATTERS

Friends of Medicare are partnering with CUPE Alberta for a tour through the province highlighting issues in Long-Term Care.

A recent report from the Parkland Institute titled "Losing Ground" has provided evidence of the importance of public care and why privatization should be stopped.

You're invited to join us from November 28 to December 2 with details below:

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