Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Canadian veterans made to wait half a year and more for mental health help

Canadians are supposedly getting the best health care possible, right?  WRONG!
If veterans who should be at the very front of the queue are made to wait for months on end, what do you think is the waiting time for the rest of the citizens?   

Lee Berthiaume writing at OttawaCitizen:
One in five Canadian veterans  suffering from a mental illness and injury is being forced to wait more than eight months before the government approves a request for help, Canada’s auditor general says.

In an explosive report Tuesday, Auditor General Michael Ferguson says bureaucratic red tape and other barriers are preventing hundreds of veterans from getting timely access to the mental health services they need.

“These delays may jeopardize a veteran’s stabilization and/or recovery,” the report says.

The finding appeard to confirm complaints voiced by a number of injured veterans in recent years. It will also turn up the heat on the Conservative government, which has faced a litany of criticism for its treatment of those who have served in uniform.

Ferguson takes specific aim at Veterans Affairs’ disability benefits program, which helps pay for various health services not covered by provincial health plans. These can include specialized psychological care, residential treatment and some medications.

About 15,000 veterans and serving military personnel were eligible to receive mental health support from Veterans Affairs through the program at the end of March. That number is expected to increase as more Afghan vets leave the military for civilian life in the coming years.

Ferguson’s report did find the government “has put in place important health supports for veterans,” including a rehabilitation program that was providing timely support to about 4,600 veterans with mental health conditions who had recently been released from the military.

“However, access to the disability benefits program – the program through which most veterans access mental health services – is slow, and the application process is complex,” the report reads.....

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