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News announces ME is a mental illness: Please ask for retraction

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by Bergamot, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Gamboa

    Gamboa Senior Member

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    I could be wrong about this but I think the data is coming from the administrator of the public service disability plan, SunLife. On a paragraph towards the end of the article it mentions this.

    "The disability plan, administered by Sun Life, has 241,785 members and paid $ 256 million in benefits to the 11,100 public servants who are on disability. "

    I am not surprised by this and the ignorance of this insurance company.Yes Canada supposedly recognizes ME/CFS as a neurological illness but I think that is on paper only. The insurance companies, in addition to most physicians here, still think it is a psychological illness.

    I actually live in Ottawa and was horrified to read this article that was on the front page of my newspaper. My only hope is that many people no longer get the newspaper and most wouldn't be bothered to read the on-line article.

    I was thinking of writing a letter to the editor but was a little concerned that it would actually bring more attention to the article. No matter what I wrote, I'm not sure I wouldn't be able to change people's minds. Also, since I used to work at the Ottawa Hospital for almost 20 years and know many people there, I am a bit embarrassed to let them know that I have ME/CFS since many will then conclude that I am crazy and inventing all my symptoms. Despite this, I will still write a letter of complaint. It is so important that we all stick up for ourselves and each other no matter how difficult that can be.

    Gamboa (from Ottawa....arghhhh)
     
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  2. Gamboa

    Gamboa Senior Member

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    I should also mention that I am currently receiving disability payments from...you guessed it.... Sun Life! I have been off work for five years now with ME/CFS. I feel like phoning them and asking if I am in the " mental disorder" category but I better not antagonize them. They could make my life a lot more difficult than it already is.

    They gave me a hard time for the first two years that I was off work and just didn't understand what was wrong with me. Twice they tried to get me into the return to work plan despite the fact that I was no better and my doctors advised against it. The people I dealt with at Sunlife, my plan administrator and two different "return to work" staff, knew absolutely nothing about this illness. It was if I was the first person they had ever dealt with who had ME/CFS. I constantly had to educate them and sent them many research articles in addition to the Canadian Consensus Document which they had never heard of. It was only after I got in to see Dr. Bested in Toronto, who gave me a firm diagnosis of ME/CFS, that they left me alone. For the past two years I have not had to do too much for them, just the occasional update to say that I am still not well.

    Gamboa
     
  3. Bergamot

    Bergamot

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  4. Bergamot

    Bergamot

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    I hear you. We get serious beaten by these guys. In retrospect, it would be in their interest for people to be diagnosed early so they can get well completely and go back to work early. It's not by plotting with the APA that a cure will see the light of day. The illness is recognized, they have to compensate their affected clients, why not advocate for early detection, cares and cure?
     
  5. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    Sun Life backed off on their return-to-work plans for me only when I was diagnosed with cancer. Cancer was never the reason that I couldn't return to work, but it got their attention. Their sudden change of heart made me realize how stigmatized ME/CFS was at that time.
     
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  6. Bergamot

    Bergamot

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    Kathryn May, the author of the "article" just answered me:

    "I am on holidays but have alerted editors about the error. With the long weekend, I don't know if anyone will be around to attend to it before Tuesday.
    I am curious, however, whether this error was in the paper or web version of the story. There was a correction made in the newspaper version (of the Ottawa Citizen) referring to the list as a sampling of all claims rather that calling them specifically mental health claims. In which newspaper or website did you see the article?
    cheers
    Kathyrn "

    How can we convince her to write a piece on ME? What should we focus on? Rituximab? Research funding? Psychiatrist and insurance companies? GP and other professionals' education? Give me your opinion. If you want to contact her directly (to get her on our side, please be extra polite), her email is "May, Kathryn (ott)" <kmay@ottawacitizen.com>. Still, let's keep up with the Facebook campaign! (Comment and "Like" other ME comments under the article, scroll down to friday june 29, look for the picture of the helpless guy in blue and white at https://www.facebook.com/TheOttawaCitizen)
     
  7. Bergamot

    Bergamot

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    Indeed it mentions Sun Life as well as 3 other companies: "All told, the government has four separate plans covering nearly 352,500 employees — a long term disability plan managed by Sun Life for unionized public servants and another run by Industrial Alliance for executives, judges, MPs, Senators and order-in-council appointees. Great West Life manages the RCMP's disability plan and Manulife runs the military plan."
     
  8. justinreilly

    justinreilly Stop the IoM & P2P! Adopt CCC!

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    I sent the author an email and cc'd all the editors listed earlier in the thread. Everyone pls write a short email (and as always feel free to use any of my text without attribution). Thanks!


     
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  9. Bergamot

    Bergamot

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    Right on Justin, Thank you for your solidarity. Here is the correction they made online only, in the Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette, no paper correction,. Still the exact same article mentioning CFS but changed :

    "Here's how those mental health claims broke down:"
    to:
    "The breakdown of health issues include:" (listing mental illnesses and CFS)

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health... service disability claims/6857279/story.html

    It's pretty meaningless and we need to demand an article asking why do insurance companies compile their statistics against medical regulations.
     
  10. justinreilly

    justinreilly Stop the IoM & P2P! Adopt CCC!

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    Thanks Bergamot. I sent them another email correcting my earlier one.
     
    Bergamot likes this.

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