In an effort to clarify and attempt to bring issues pertaining to people with disabilities in the province of Alberta to the forefront a few weeks ago I sent a questionnaire to all Party Leaders leading up to the Provincial election on May 5, 2015.
Unfortunately I didn’t receive a response from any of the party leaders. Here is the questionnaire that I sent:
Quite often I find that public buildings are wheelchair accessible however not accessible to those who use walking aids such as crutches, walkers and canes.
Are you committed to review the barrier-free & accessibility standards to raise the minimal acceptable levels to include accessibility for those who use walking aids and also include legislation that will force MLA’s to occupy accessible Constituency Offices?
I recently was informed that The Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program funding has been repurposed; would you be committed to reinstating or expanding the program to include people with disabilities?
I personally have found that some employers are not receptive to hiring a person with a disability because of false perceptions.
If elected is your government willing to provide potential employers incentives to hiring individuals with disabilities?
And what form would the incentives be?
Having had to use homecare from time to time the wait times for services post-surgery are very long and as is the process for appeals and reauthorization for Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL).
Will you hire more staff in order for individuals with disabilities get quicker access to services and authorizations for medical supplies and equipment?
Due to the long waiting list for rent support programs will you work with agencies like Capital Region Housing (CRHC) to create a program that would allow individuals with disabilities that require subsidy for their rent to take that subsidy where ever they want to live within the agency jurisdiction?
Rather than the current segregated agreement between CRHC and the tenants; will you broaden the current program so that lease agents with programs such as CRHC act on behalf of the client when a conflict arises between the client and a private landlord?
This issue is a big one for people living with disabilities as there are many issues and flaws within the area of income supports.
If you are elected as Premier will you increase income supports annually in accordance with the increase in the cost of living (inflation) in Alberta?
The Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) appeal process has changed; meaning most issues are no longer appealable.
Will you reinstate the Citizens Appeal Panel?
I think we would all agree that there should be a focus on making the program less punitive which in turn would encourage recipients to find employment even part time employment; do you agree?
The AISH medical plan has been disqualifying many medically necessary medication and dental procedures from coverage.
Will you work with Blue Cross; Quik Card and any other Company that provides medical benefits to AISH recipients to increase what and how much they cover?
Will you work with municipalities to create transportation services for the disabled that create greater independence for the disabled community?
How will you go about doing this?
MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT
Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL) is a program funded by the Provincial government that provides medical equipment and supplies to Albertans.
Will you increase funding for the AADL programs so that there can be a more preventative approach to providing medical equipment and supplies?
Will you create a policy so that clients will have better communication with staff? An example of this is to notify clients in advance when an authorization expires; providing information about Appeals and any changes to the supplies covered.
Will you create a policy allowing clients to have more choice in regards to what supplies and equipment they are entitled?
I have found that when appealing or reauthorizing there are conversations that occur between the authorizer and/or medical professional who have written letters of support with AADL staff and the client is not privy to these conversations.
Will you allow for more program transparency when a staff member speaks to medical professionals?
Will you insist that all communication between medical professionals and AADL staff be done in writing?
Will you insist that all communication between medical professionals and AADL staff be provided to the client?
Will you change the calendar year of the AADL program so that the calendar year doesn’t begin on a statutory holiday like Canada Day?
I have been told that AADL has threatened Vendors that if they deliver supplies and/or equipment early they could face being disqualified from being a vendor. Will you insist that AADL staff allow Vendors to deliver supplies and equipment early especially if the 2 month cycle date starts on a weekend or long weekend?