Health and Wellness

Baillie stands up for seniors

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Latest pharmacare debacle again calls Liberals’ competence, integrity into question

Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie is condemning the Liberal government for putting its sneaky 19 per cent pharmacare premium hike on the backs of seniors.

This morning, a day later than promised, the Liberal government finally released details of their plan to charge seniors more for the pharmacare program.

Under these new changes, seniors face a 19 per cent increase for the program starting April 1st.

“The Liberals shifted a $10 million cost directly onto the backs of seniors,” says Baillie. “When they rolled this out, they only gave seniors one side of the story. Now, after intense pressure, we are slowly finding out the truth.”

Under the new structure, seniors will contribute 37 per cent to the cost of the program. The former system was established under a 75:25 payment ratio between government and seniors. On January 15, when the announcement was made, the Liberals tried to blame the need for an increase on rising drug costs and the need for the program to be more sustainable. We learned today drug costs are only anticipated to go up 5.4 per cent and under some scenarios, this new model could be less sustainable than before.

Baillie says the latest debacle again calls into question the competence of the government.

“How can seniors trust the McNeil Liberals?” asks Baillie. “Many seniors feel threated by letters they received in the mail and it’s no wonder. The Liberals tried to cloud this as much as possible in order to hide their cash grab.”

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Dialysis unit needed in Barrington Passage

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d’Entremont appeals to Liberal Health Minister
Monday Feb 23 2015
Dialysis unit needed in Barrington Passage

BARRINGTON PASSAGE, NS – Progressive Conservative MLA for Argyle-Barrington and Health critic Chris d’Entremont is urging the McNeil government to establish a dialysis unit in Barrington Passage. d’Entremont has written to Health Minister Leg Glavine urging him to put machines in the existing Barrington Passage Health clinic. Click here for letter

“There are a number of residents in Shelburne County who need to make the trip to Yarmouth for this life sustaining procedure three times a week,” d”Entremont said. “This travel adds to their stress levels, in terms of finances and driving time.”

A group called the Barrington Dialysis Support Group have been fighting to get a dialysis clinic in the area. Last week, a Wood’s Harbour resident who needed to travel 100km to Yarmouth for his dialysis treatment went off the road due to winter conditions.

d’Entremont says with the large health clinic space already existing in Barrington Passage, opportunities exist for a solution.

“A competent government would utilize the space in Barrington Passage,” d’Entremont said. “The infrastructure exists, it would simply be a matter of getting some machines in there. This solution would address a great need in this area, and ensure patient safety.”

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Press Release on Wedgeport (Little River Harbour / Comeau’s Hill) Wind Farm

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d’Entremont seeks meeting with NDP Energy Minister on proposed wind farm

For immediate release
July 13, 2012

In light of opposition to a proposed wind farm development by many residents of Comeau’s Hill and Little River Harbour, PC MLA Chris d’Entremont will be seeking a meeting with the NDP Minister of Energy so he can raise the community’s concerns with the NDP government.

“It’s clear that many residents are opposed to this project and I’ll be making sure the NDP government hears their concerns loud and clear,” he said.

d’Entremont says the NDP have forced an expensive electricity plan on Nova Scotians and are leaving all the hard work to municipalities to manage the growth in wind energy projects. He says there is an important role for wind power in Nova Scotia, but the process for proposing locations is “causing anxiety and upset and pitting neighbor against neighbor”.

d’Entremont says he’ll be urging the NDP Energy Minister to come to the area so he can hear from the residents himself.

“I want the Minister to see, first-hand, the kinds of problems the NDP’s careless implementation of their energy plan is causing,” he said.

The Progressive Conservatives, on behalf of Nova Scotia ratepayers, are intervening in the upcoming UARB hearing into Nova Scotia Power’s request for a six per cent electricity rate increase over the next two years.

The Progressive Conservatives have brought forward five new pieces of legislation and an amendment aimed at tackling higher power rates, but none were passed by the NDP majority.

NDP long-term care let down

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NDP’s decision to stop building long-term care beds is
extremely shortsighted in light of new census data from Statistics
Canada.

Statistics Canada released the second part of its 2011 census
information today, which shows Nova Scotia has the highest percentage of
people over 65 in the country and our population over 80 is expected to
increase by 90 per cent by 2026.

The waiting list for a long-term care bed in Nova Scotia grew to almost
1,900 people according to the NDP’s Minister of Health. It has increased
25 per cent since the NDP took office. The NDP have not announced a
single new bed since they formed government.

“The lack of planning and action by the NDP when it comes to building
long-term care beds is causing serious hardship for our seniors and
their families,” said d’Entremont. “With no new beds being built, we’re
falling further and further behind in meeting the needs of the 1,900
Nova Scotians and their families who are being overlooked by this NDP
government.”

Nova Scotia’s 2006 Continuing Care Strategy planned for 846 beds by 2010
and 1,320 beds by 2015 but the NDP has not even reached the 2010 target.

This past March, the New Brunswick government, facing similar
demographic circumstances, announced a 10 year plan to add more than 1,000 beds. A demographic analysis showed “an overall growing need for
services for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia” according to
a government news release.

“It’s quite clear that our population is getting older and that all
indicators are pointed in that direction,” said d’Entremont. “You cannot
build these facilities overnight and the NDP are now three years behind
where we should be in terms of providing for the needs of the very
elderly.”

In 2008, when in opposition, Darrell Dexter told the Cape Breton Post,
“The growth in the senior demographics will quickly outpace the
government’s plans to establish 832 long-term care beds by 2010.”

The NDP government cancelled the completion of the final 200 beds of that
plan.

Spring 2012 legislative session ends

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After about 6 weeks in the legislature, I’ve got say that this was one of the most bizarre sessions in my 9 years as MLA for Argyle.

As a quick explanation of legislative sessions, the Government is in charge of the daily operation of the house, calling bills and business for us to debate and work on. They of course call their pieces of legislation and try to keep the house open for at least the hours that were called the previous day. Towards the end of the session the longest hours were Wednesday when we, the opposition, get to call bills and resolutions for debate. Otherwise we only sat for a couple of hours during the daily routine, which is a set agenda for introduction of bills, resolutions and petitions. It also includes the prescribe hour long question period.

What I am trying to get at, beyond the budget, this NDP government had no legislative agenda to present to Nova Scotians. It reminded those who have been elected a while, like an old government that is out of good ideas. Unfortunately there were a number of good ideas presented by the PC Caucus that would be important legislation for Nova Scotia. The following is our end-of-session press release that was sent out criticising the government for it’s ineffectiveness.

Darrell Dexter’s NDP government failed to take action on the major issues Nova Scotians care about during the Spring session of the legislature which ended today.

“Nova Scotians should be rightfully disappointed to hear their government did nothing to protect them from hospital shutdowns and rising power rates in this House session,” said PC leader Jamie Baillie. “Parents should be rightfully disappointed in the NDP’s weak stance on bullying.”

The NDP government refused to pass PC legislation that would end the type of healthcare labour shutdown that led to over 500 cancelled surgeries and thousands of cancelled appointments at Capital Health last month. The NSNU’s 6,500 nurses are going into negotiations now.

The NDP government also refused to pass any of the five PC bills that tackle higher power rates. Instead the Premier is moving forward with the expensive Muskrat Falls project without knowing how much it will cost ratepayers. The deal was apparently sealed with Emera executives on their corporate jet and there is mysteriously no paper trail available for Nova Scotians to learn how much they will be expected to pay for the deal or how the deal came together, in spite of repeated questions and FOIPOPs.

The NDP passed weak legislation on bullying that is very narrow in focus and ineffective in addressing a problem that has caused great harm to too many Nova Scotia children and their families.

“The NDP have let down Nova Scotians on power rates, heathcare shutdowns and bullying,” said Baillie. “The NDP should not have ended the House session without addressing these important matters.”

Baillie noted the NDP began the session by presenting their fourth consecutive deficit budget and announcing a $260 million forgivable loan to Irving Shipbuilding, with no details yet provided to Nova Scotians.

The NDP failed to pass legislation that would give grandparents’ consideration in custody arrangements, but did pass a law that allows them to push government propaganda messages to Nova Scotians’ cell phones.

The PC’s also demanded the resignation of the NDP’s Community Services Minister for her mishandling of confidential information regarding Talbot House and failing to warn a daycare of an alleged child abuser in their employ. The Premier stood by his incompetent Minister.

Lyme Disease

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HEALTH/WELLNESS–Ticks Established in Gavelton, Yarmouth County
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Field work has confirmed that ticks collected from in and around Gavelton, Yarmouth Co., carry the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

The field work is part of an ongoing surveillance program by the departments of Natural Resources and Health and Wellness, in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory.

Residents, health care providers and municipal leaders in Gavelton and the surrounding areas were informed by letters sent from Dr. Lynda Earle, medical officer of health for South West Health.

“Although this is not the time of year when ticks are typically most active, it’s important for people to be mindful that when working or playing in grassy, shrubby and wooded areas that they prevent tick exposure, even though risk of contracting Lyme disease remains low,” said Ms. Earle.

“It’s important to keep protection in mind as the weather continues to be unseasonably mild, as ticks remain active until the first permanent snowfall or when air temperatures are consistently below 4 degrees.”

There are several easy ways to prevent or reduce contact with ticks:

— wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants and socks so ticks are more visible, and enclosed shoes while working or playing outside or hiking in the woods
— pull socks up over pant legs and tuck in shirts
— spray clothing and exposed skin with an insect repellant containing DEET
— check clothing and exposed skin for ticks after working or playing outside in the bushes or tall grass and remove any ticks attached to the skin
— keep grass well cut to minimize suitable habitat for ticks on your property

Other areas where the Lyme disease bacteria is present in ticks include:

— Lunenburg County: Blue Rocks, Garden Lots, Heckmans Island and First Peninsula and areas immediately surrounding them
— Halifax Regional Municipality: Admirals Cove in Bedford
— Pictou County: areas around Melmerby Beach, Egerton, Kings Head, and Pine Tree
— Shelburne County: Gunning Cove

Although there are established areas of increased risk within Nova Scotia, ticks have been found throughout the province. Nova Scotians are reminded to enjoy the outdoors safely, regardless of where they live.

Images of the blacklegged tick, tick removal instructions and general information on Lyme disease are available online at www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/cdpc/lyme.asp .

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Pharmacy

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We’ve been getting a number of emails and calls from individuals who have been warned by local pharmacies that they will not be accepting provincial drug plan cards as of July 1st.

Here is a press release put out by the Progressive Conservative Caucus on June 16, 2011. It outlines the mis-handling of a very important agreement with Pharmacists.

During debate on Bill 17, my colleagues and I warned the NDP Government that it was putting Nova Scotians at risk by cutting the costs of generic drugs without having an agreement with pharmacies that will ensure their survival in rural Nova Scotia.

What we are seeing is our worst fears being realized, by pharmacies not accepting provincial drug plans when the existing agreement expires. I do not hold the pharmacies responsible, it sits squarely at the feet of Premier Darrell Dexter and his Minister of Health Maureen MacDonald.

If you have any concerns about this move, please do not hesitate to call my office or dropping me an email.

Pharmacy customers facing cash crunch because of NDP mismanagement
posted: Jun 16 2011
Baillie, Jamie
Pharmacy agreement talks have stalled with deadline only two weeks away

SYDNEY, NS – Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie says in two weeks, people going to pharmacies to fill their prescriptions may find their government Pharmacare cards not accepted and full cash payment required. Some pharmacies have begun to inform their customers that effective July 1st, Pharmacare cards may not be accepted at the prescription counter.

Negotiations between pharmacists and the NDP government broke down when the government walked away from the table, leaving pharmacy owners scrambling to figure out how they can keep their operations open.

“Once again, the NDP have pushed through extreme regulations without considering the consequences of their actions,” said Baillie.

“NDP policies are putting Pharmacare clients at risk, costing jobs and threatening the future of small, independent pharmacies,” continued Baillie. “Individuals who need prescriptions filled will pay the price for the NDP’s mishandling of the pharmacy tariff negotiations.”

Many Pharmacare clients are seniors on fixed incomes and this sudden change could mean that they will be forced to go without the medication they need. Pharmacare clients may end up having to pay the full amount in cash, up front, for their previously insured drugs. Nova Scotia spends $838 per person on prescribed drugs and without an agreement, Nova Scotians might be forced to cover that cost.

Baillie says “the clock is ticking” toward the July 1st deadline and the NDP need to immediately return to negotiations and reach a fair agreement with pharmacists.

During the recent session of the House of Assembly, Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald stated that she is “committed to reaching a fair and balanced tariff agreement that will work both for the pharmacies and the pharmacists in this province.” Cape Breton pharmacist Darryl Poirier, who owns pharmacies in Glace Bay, Dominion and Sydney Forks, says the government is not following through on their commitment.

“The provincial government promised pharmacists they would treat us fairly after passing Bill 17. Instead, they are cutting funds from pharmacies that will result in fewer health services for patients and higher costs for medications and other services,” said Poirier. “Independent pharmacies are now backed into a corner where we may be forced into a situation where we cannot accept Pharmacare cards at the prescription counter if a fair deal can’t be reached with the provincial government by July 1st. This will be a huge inconvenience for patients who will be forced to pay out of pocket for their prescriptions until this gets straightened out.”

Poirier says that the services provided by pharmacists to Nova Scotians have kept people out of emergency rooms and doctors’ offices because they could access the health care they needed from a pharmacist. He says the situation is “a sad day for Nova Scotians seeking good, affordable health care.”

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