Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care says Interim Federal Health Program incrisis on Refugee Rights DayGroup plans second National Day of Action June 17th to take message to thestreets
Toronto, April 4, 2013 �Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care is marking Refugee Rights Day by releasing more examples of refugees being denied necessary health care because of federal cuts and confusion surrounding the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). These are new cases reported since Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care joined with the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers to launch a Charter challenge to the federal government�s cuts to refugee health care.
As hospitals, community clinics, medical professionals, and provincial governments continue to struggle with the incomprehensible structure of the revised IFH program individual patients � including sick children and pregnant women fleeing sexual violence � are suffering. This includes the recently publicized case of a Calgary woman who was denied cancer treatment.
�We are finding more and more patients legally here having to go without badly needed health care services,� said Dr. Meb Rashid, medical director of the Crossroads Clinic at Women's College Hospital. �The patients we see have fled unimaginable terror to seek a safer life in Canada, and our government is telling doctors that they cannot provide necessary treatment.�
It has been six months since Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care submitted a written proposal to Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney that addresses the federal government�s stated equity concern while maintaining access to important health care services for refugees. The group has yet to receive any response to its proposal.
Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care is organizing a National Day of Action for June 17th to take the facts directly to the streets and tell Canadians the consequences of the federal government�s cuts to refugee health care.
�The Conservative government is failing many sick refugee children and women,� said Dr. Philip Berger, Chief of Family and Community Medicine at St. Michael�s Hospital. �These refugee families are legally within our borders and the government has a Charter responsibility to provide them with basic health care coverage. Life saving medication and prenatal care is not gold plated health care. The government should finally start telling the truth.�
The following is a sample of cases catalogued by Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care in which refugees have been refused coverage and care. Every case has been verified.
� a woman with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of sexual violence in her country of origin cannot be treated because she has to wait for her IFH coverage to be initiated
� a man is found to have a mass in his liver after an Emergency room visit. He does not have any insurance to follow up because he is from a Designated Country of Origin (DCO) and cannot pay for it himself
� a woman fleeing the sex trade arrives in the late stages of pregnancy and cannot get any testing as she awaits her IFH coverage
� a six year old child cannot get proper investigations for a possible urinary tract infection as she awaits her IFH coverage. The family cannot pay for the treatment
� a woman with a biopsied mass in her neck cannot get a follow up appointment to get her results even though she has health coverage through the IFHP
� a woman with a large mass in her pelvis cannot get diagnostic or curative surgery because she is denied refugee status during the work-up
� a woman in labor is asked to pay for the cost of her epidural as the anesthetist is unable to understand her IFHP insurance coverage late at night. She delivers her baby without pain control
� a woman requiring treatment of fibroids and heavy vaginal bleeding is denied coverage for a necessary pelvic ultrasound.
�The government should listen to the 20 national health care organizations as well as that of many provincial governments and rescind these cuts now,� added Dr. Rashid.