OTTAWA, Dec. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The War Amps today commended the
Government of Canada for adopting the Association's recommendations to
cut red tape throughout Veterans Affairs Canada in order to make the
Department more administratively efficient and to eliminate undue
bureaucracy for seriously disabled veterans.
"For many years, The War Amputations of Canada, in conjunction with the
National Council of Veteran Associations (NCVA), has raised serious
concerns as to the unacceptable levels of red tape and bureaucracy that
continue to exist in Veterans Affairs Canada's program delivery
administration," said Brian Forbes, Chairman of both The War Amps
Executive Committee and NCVA.
"As a matter of background, it became readily apparent that, in the
context of the 2012 Federal Budget, the then Minister of Veterans
Affairs Steven Blaney, became fully committed to his initiative to cut
red tape throughout the Department, in an attempt to make VAC more
administratively efficient," he added. "The War Amps has been fully
engaged with the Minister in a continuing mission to take him up on his
offer to identify other areas where red tape and undue bureaucracy can
be substantially reduced."
In early 2012, The War Amps formed a Task Force to provide additional
input for the Minister's consideration on further areas where
bureaucratic obstacles could be eliminated in VAC so as to improve, and
make more effective, the service and benefit delivery to veterans and
their dependants. The Task Force included both traditional and
modern-day Veterans, the Association's National Amputee Centre and
Service Bureau staff and other consultants in formulating a list of
substantive proposals relating largely to the Seriously Disabled
Veteran community in Canada. Its recommendations were summarized in a
report which was delivered to the Minister in October 2012.
Mr. Forbes noted a common theme to many of the Task Force's
recommendations rests in the fact that in order to make VAC's
administration and services more effective, it must be recognized that
removal of unnecessary red tape and layers of bureaucracy are
absolutely essential to addressing the readily apparent needs of
Seriously Disabled Veterans.
"Unfortunately, there is a sense among the veterans' community that the
Department does not trust the client, and that for some reason the
veteran is out to take advantage of VAC. By and large this is simply
not the case, particularly with respect to Seriously Disabled Veterans
whose needs are self-evident and whose entitlement to benefits should
be the highest priority for the Department," he said.
The second common theme lies in the fundamental conclusion that, by (a)
minimizing the need for doctor's prescriptions, (b) establishing annual
approval limits for service providers, (c) approving specific
prosthetic limbs automatically for amputees, and (d) providing cash
allowances up front, these policy changes will allow veterans with the
assistance of their case manager to manage their own disabilities.
This will result in an element of savings by not only reducing VAC and
Blue Cross administration but also would address the significant waste
of precious family physician time in obtaining routine prescriptions.
"Following a series of meetings with the Minister of Veterans Affairs
and Departmental officials, we welcome Minister Fantino's announcement
today indicating that the greater majority of the recommendations
emanating from The War Amps Task Force have been accepted by Veterans
Affairs Canada," Mr. Forbes said. "We are currently working with
Departmental staff to implement the required changes to the VAC
guidelines and grids so as to improve the administration of the
Department's prosthetic policy and related health care programs."
The War Amps, together with the 60 member organizations of the National
Council of Veteran Associations, has consistently demanded over the
last number of years that Veterans Affairs Canada implement an overall
plan of action to fulfill its commitment to not only seriously disabled
Veterans and health care benefits, but also the reform of the New
SOURCE: War Amps
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