Empire Life adds Best Doctors services to group plans

KINGSTON, Ontario, Nov. 27, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Empire Life Insurance Company (“Empire Life”) (TSX: EML.PR.A) will automatically include the Best DoctorsⓇ suite of expert medical and care navigation services in its group benefit plans, starting December 1, 2018. Best Doctors services bring together top physicians worldwide—selected through ongoing peer-to-peer polling—to help employees navigate our complex health care system and improve health outcomes. Best Doctors is a service of Teladoc Health, a global leader in virtual care.

Small and medium-sized businesses with extended health benefits provided by Empire Life will be eligible for five Best Doctors services:

InterConsultationTM
A leading expert will perform an in-depth analysis of an employee’s medical data, including diagnostic imaging, test results and pathology samples when appropriate. Then they provide recommendations in a detailed, confidential report. Employees are invited to share the findings with their own doctor, should they choose.

FindBestDocTM
Employees can get help searching for the right specialist. The FindBestDoc team researches options and provides employees with a comprehensive report to share with the treating physician, who can then make a referral.

FindBestCareTM
If an employee needs to see a specialist outside of Canada, the FindBestCare team will search their global database of over 50,000 physicians in more than 450 specialties and subspecialties.

Best Doctors 3600 Ⓡ A Member Advocate can help employees get the information they need on a variety of health topics, offering peace of mind that they’re making well-informed decisions about their health care.

Medical Records eSummaryTM
Up to three years of an employee’s medical history can be collected and delivered in a convenient, secure digital file. A medical expert reviews the records and provides a health alert summary, bringing any potential health concerns to the employee’s attention.

“We’re delighted to bring this outstanding service to our customers,” said Michael Perry, Vice President, Group Product and Marketing.“ Empire Life is on a mission to make group benefits simple, fast and easy for Canadians. By automatically including Best Doctors services in our group plans, we’re adding convenience and helping people get the right diagnosis, the right treatment and the peace of mind they deserve.”

“We’re honoured to partner with Empire Life,” said Robin Cooper, vice president, strategic relationships, Teladoc Health. “As forward-thinking Canadian employers and plan sponsors work to help their members navigate the health care system and get the medical answers they need, this suite of Best Doctors services will help connect members seamlessly to leading experts and the peace of mind that comes with the right guidance.”

About Empire Life

Established in 1923 and a subsidiary of E-L Financial Corporation Limited, Empire Life provides individual and group life and health insurance, investment and retirement products to Canadians. The company’s mission is to make it simple, fast and easy for Canadians to get the investment, insurance and group benefits coverage they need to build wealth, generate income, and achieve financial security. As of September 30, 2018 Empire Life had total assets under management of $17.2 billion. Follow Empire Life on Twitter @EmpireLife or visit www.empire.ca for more information.

Contact: Shelly Potter
613 548-1890, ext. 4348 or shelly.potter@empire.ca
www.empire.ca

About Teladoc Health
Best Doctors is part of Teladoc Health, Inc., a mission-driven organization successfully transforming how people access and experience healthcare, with a focus on high quality, lower costs, and improved outcomes around the world. The company’s award-winning, integrated clinical solutions are inclusive of telehealth, expert medical services, AI and analytics, and licensable platform services. With more than 2,000 employees, the organization delivers care in 125 countries and in more than 20 languages, partnering with employers, hospitals and health systems, and insurers to transform care delivery. For more information, please visit www.teladochealth.com or follow @TeleadocHealth on Twitter.

Contact: Justin Joseph
jjoseph@teladoc.com
www.bestdoctors.com/canada

Parks Canada allowing pot use at campsites, hiking trails

Bob Boughner, Chatham Daily News 

Parks Canada announced this week that marijuana can be consumed at its campsites – part of a policy of offering visitors a consistent and predictable experience at national parks across the country.

In some provinces, including Ontario, campers will be allowed to smoke pot on hiking trails as long as the trails aren’t within the campgrounds themselves. Marijuana won’t be permitted in common areas within campgrounds such as playgrounds, kitchen shelters, washrooms, parking areas or roads within Parks Canada’s network of parks, national historic sites, national marine conservation areas and historic waterways. Parks Canada’s approach to cannabis will be similar to its policy on the possession and consumption of alcohol.

Parks Canada officials say campers should learn about provincial and municipal laws on cannabis before bringing marijuana to a national park and warn that pot impairment can increase the risk of serious injury.

Canadians will be allowed to take up to 30 grams of cannabis with them on domestic flights and the legal amount can be carried in either a checked bag or carry-on. It remains illegal to transport cannabis outside of Canada even to another jurisdiction where it’s legal.

Federal gov’t risks ignoring existing provincial drug insurance plans in push for national program

Provincial Drug Coverage for Vulnerable Canadians

Despite widespread misperceptions, every province already provides prescription drug coverage to help Canadians—particularly seniors and lower-income Canadians—pay for pharmaceuticals, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Much of the discussion about a possible national pharmacare plan seemingly assumes there’s no existing government help for Canadians to pay for medicines they need—but that’s just not true,” said Bacchus Barua, associate director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Provincial Drug Coverage for Vulnerable Canadians.

The study summarizes provincial drug programs across the country and finds that, while levels of coverage vary by province, three key vulnerable groups, namely lower-income Canadians, seniors, and Canadians on social assistance have access to prescription drugs, paid in full or in part by provincial governments.

Provincial governments across Canada also provide drug coverage to select populations who may face considerable hardships as a result of either their medical care costs or other factors including the severely disabled and those diagnosed with conditions like multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis.

Crucially, provinces are able to establish prescription drug plans to suit their particular priorities, population age, income levels and other factors, which differ from province to province. This customization would likely be lost or at least diluted if Canada adopts a national program.

“Provinces can tailor drug plans to suit their individual needs, but a single-payer national pharmacare system would put an end to that,” said Yanick Labrie, a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute who specializes in health and pharmaceutical economics.

“Instead of a drug program modelled on our inflexible health-care system, we should instead seek to understand what gaps exist in our provincial plans and target resources to Canadians who need assistance.”

Follow the Fraser Institute onTwitter and Facebook

The Fraser Institute is an independent Cnadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org

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Young Canadians face heightened crash risk after consuming cannabis, new study finds

Young Canadians are more at risk of a vehicle crash even five hours after inhaling cannabis, according to results of a clinical trial conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and McGill University, and funded by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).

The research found that performance declined significantly, in key areas such as reaction time, even five hours after inhaling the equivalent of less than one typical joint. The participants’ driving performance, which was tested in a driving simulator, deteriorated as soon as they were exposed to the kinds of distractions common on the road.

The peer-reviewed study is published online today at 6:00 a.m. EST at CMAJ Open, an online sister journal to CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

The trial examined the impact of cannabis on the driving ability of 18 to 24 year old occasional users. CAA polling has found that a significant number of young Canadians – one in five – believe they are as good or better drivers stoned as they are sober.

“This new trial provides important Canadian evidence that cannabis can affect the skills needed to drive safely even five hours after consuming,” said Jeff Walker, CAA chief strategy officer. “The message is simple. If you consume, don’t drive. Find another way home or stay where you are.”

“This rigorous experimental trial adds to a growing body of scientific literature on cannabis use and driving,” said study co-author Isabelle Gélinas, a researcher in McGill’s School of Physical and Occupational Therapy. “The findings provide new evidence on the extent to which driving-related performance is compromised following a typical dose of inhaled cannabis, even at five hours after use.”

Under controlled conditions, researchers tested driving-related performance of young Canadians in a simulated environment, at intervals up to five hours after they had consumed cannabis. Participants were also tested with no cannabis in their system to set a baseline.

While the participants showed no significant effects when there were no distractions, as soon as conditions became more realistic, driving-related performance reduced significantly. In addition, a large percentage of the young drivers reported they did not feel as safe to drive after consuming cannabis, even five hours after use.

“When you feel you are not safe to drive you are right – you are not!” Walker said.

“CAA is committed to doing its part in furthering this important road safety issue, but governments must step up too,” Walker added. “We need funding earmarked specifically to study the effects of cannabis on driving – research that covers the spectrum from basic research to on-road safety initiatives.”

About the study

The CAA-funded study was conducted by a multidisciplinary research team at the Centre for Innovative Medicine (CIM) of the RI-MUHC, under the supervision of Drs. Nicol Korner-Bitensky and Isabelle Gélinas, leading driving researchers, and Dr. Mark Ware, a leading cannabis researcher. The driving simulator used in the study was supplied by Virage Simulation, a Montreal-based company. The lead author, Dr. Tatiana Ogourtsova, is a post-doctoral fellow. Ms. Maja Kalaba, a junior epidemiologist at the MUHC, was project coordinator. (As of July 1, 2018, Dr. Ware became an employee of Canopy Growth Corporation, a Canadian licensed producer of medical cannabis; as of that date, he had no further involvement in analysis of the data for the study.)

Participants in this randomized clinical trial were between the ages of 18 and 24 years old and recreational users of cannabis (i.e. used cannabis at least once in the past three months, but not more than four times per week). The trial tested their driving related performance on four different days using a state-of-the-art driving simulator and a Useful Field of View test. Testing was randomized to occur 1 hour, 3 hours and 5 hours after they had consumed cannabis. They used a medical grade vaporizer to consume a dose of 100 mg dried cannabis flowers containing 13% THC over several inhalations. A typical joint is 300-500 mg of dried cannabis. Full details of the study are available here as of 6 am ET on Oct. 15.

SOURCE Canadian Automobile Association

http://www.caa.ca

The Canadian Breast Cancer Network Releases New Report

A new report released today from the Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN), Breast Cancer: The Lived Experience, provides the comprehensive perspective of almost 500 Canadian women who have experienced a breast cancer diagnosis. Patients and survivors diagnosed with both early stage and metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer, share their experiences with the process of being diagnosed, making treatment decisions, accessing clinical trials, the psychosocial and financial impact, accessing palliative care and managing survivorship challenges. Through their experiences, patients identify current gaps when it comes to meeting the needs of breast cancer patients. This is the first Canadian report to share the experiences of early stage patients in parallel with metastatic breast cancer patients; creating a greater understating of the similarities and differences between both groups.

 

“I think we can all agree that the objective for both patients and government are the same – to improve the lives of those burdened with disease and find efficient solutions to achieve this,” says Cathy Ammendolea, Chair of the Board of Directors, CBCN. “To best accomplish this, however, it’s critical to understand the patient-perspective in order to address these needs with a patient-centred approach.”

THE CANADIAN BREAST CANCER NETWORK’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
Based on the experiences of these women, CBCN has identified five overarching factors that can greatly improve the health outcomes and the quality of life of Canadians diagnosed with breast cancer:

  1. Improved Educational Resources: The quality and availability of patient focused education has increased over the past couple of decades: however, there are still some patient-friendly educational resources that are lacking. These include specific resources for newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer patients, decision aids that support breast cancer surgery and post-surgery decision making and the navigation of financial resources.
  2. Increased Access to Treatments: This challenge was specifically identified and vocalized by people living with metastatic breast cancer. Efforts need to continue to shorten the drug approval process time, increase equitable access to new medications and ensure equitable access for take-home oral cancer medications.
  3. Increased Access to Information: Information available to patients about their health and treatment has increased; however, there is still information that isn’t always communicated to patients that would help them make informed decisions about their health. This includes information about breast density, palliative care options and information about clinical trials.
  4. Integrated Systemic Supports: The health care system as a whole is responsible for many of the services and supports that patients need to achieve optimal health and manage their breast cancer; however, these supports can be challenging to navigate and are sometimes lacking. Supports that need to be addressed at a systemic level include patient navigation, communication tools to support general practitioners during the diagnosis process and increased Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits.
  5. Increased Awareness and Understanding of Metastatic Breast Cancer: Accurate statistics and increased awareness would help further the understanding of the impact of this stage of breast cancer and better support those with it.

The recommendations laid out in this report provide key starting points and practical solutions to address the burden of breast cancer and improve the lives of those impacted by this disease. Visit CBCN.ca for more information and read the report to learn more about these recommendations.

ABOUT CBCN
The Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) is Canada’s only patient-directed national breast cancer health charity. The Canadian Breast Cancer Network is committed to ensuring the best quality of care for all Canadians affected by breast cancer and strives to voice the views and concerns of breast cancer survivors and patients through the promotion of information sharing, education and advocacy activities.

SOURCE Canadian Breast Cancer Network

Food safety tips for Thanksgiving

Many Canadians serve poultry (turkey, chicken and duck) at Thanksgiving. If poultry isn’t properly prepared, cooked or stored, you and your family could be at risk of getting food poisoning (also known as foodborne illness).

Symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting and stomach cramps. There are approximately 4 million cases of food poisoning in Canada every year. Many of these cases could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.

Cooking poultry to the proper internal temperature kills harmful bacteria in the food, but it doesn’t help control bacteria that may have been spread around your kitchen while the food was being prepared.

Follow these safety tips to help protect you and your family:

Clean:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry.
  • Clean and sanitize the sink, as well as all surfaces and utensils that have come into contact with raw poultry or its juices to avoid cross-contamination.
  • You can either use commercially available cleaners or make your own cleaning spray by mixing 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of household bleach with 750 ml (3 cups) of water.

Separate:

  • Store poultry in a leak-proof bag or container in the refrigerator or freezer immediately after you buy it.
  • Thaw poultry in the refrigerator or in cold water. If you thaw poultry in cold water, keep it in its original packaging and change the water regularly. Thawing poultry at room temperature is not recommended.
  • Do not rinse poultry before cooking it. This can spread bacteria throughout your kitchen, wherever the water splashes.

Cook:

  • Cook whole poultry until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast or thigh is at least 82ºC (180ºF). Cook poultry pieces to a minimum internal temperature of 74ºC (165ºF). Use a digital food thermometer.
  • Cook stuffing separately in its own dish or on the stove top. If you do stuff your turkey, stuff it loosely just before roasting and remove all stuffing immediately after you remove it from the oven. Cook stuffing to a minimum internal temperature of 74ºC (165ºF).

Chill:

  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking. Foods like fully cooked poultry and potatoes can be eaten cold, but if you are reheating leftovers, heat them to 74ºC (165ºF) or warmer. Gravy should be reheated to a full boil.
  • You can safely re-freeze poultry that has not been fully defrosted if the meat is still cold and ice crystals are present.

For more information:

Également disponible en français

SOURCE Health Canada

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