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Progress and Challenges in 2017

Moving Forward and Pushing Ahead

Progress and Challenges in 2017

By Sandra Azocar, Executive Director fominfo@telus.net

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A preview of our 2017 year end newsletter being mailed to Friends of Medicare members.

Be sure to renew your membership for 2018 today!

We began 2017 with uncertainty for public health care advocates. Justin Trudeau’s divide and conquer strategy on health accord negotiations were taking shape. Unaddressed problems in private seniors care were highlighted with the Christmas lockout of the care and support staff at the for profit supportive living centre run by Points West Living in Cold Lake. Questions remained over what direction public health care would be going with changes in governments in Ottawa and Edmonton.

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Job Posting - Communications & Administration Officer

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Job Posting

Communications and Administrative Officer 

Friends of Medicare is hiring a Communications and Administrative Officer for its Edmonton office. This position is 40 hours per week. There is a six-month probationary period. The anticipated start date is January 22, 2018. This posting closes on December 8, 2017.

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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?

January 13, 2017 1:25 PM

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

January 09, 2017 10:21 AM

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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