CARP Chapter In Nova Scotia Speaks Out On Seniors Driving Issue

It is a big financial hit for some Nova Scotia seniors now that the NS Driver Evaluation Program at Capital Health is going to charge seniors $440 dollars instead of just $25 to those persons, especially seniors, who do not have an insurance that covers this service — a service that is, surprisingly, not covered by seniors’ insurance in the Province. Over 300 patients each year (almost half of them seniors) are referred to this program by their family doctors when questions arise about their ability to continue driving. The evaluation provides objective information to assist clinicians in determining if an individual’s medical condition, medications, and/or functional limitations affect their ability to drive safely.

Bill VanGorder, CARP National Advisory Board and Past President of the CARP Nova Scotia Chapter was interviewed on the CBC TV Evening News, ( click here for link. ) CBC Radio’s Information Morning and News Radio 95.7 on the issue. CBC has also been carrying a written story on their FaceBook and Online websites.

The Chapter also communicated its concerns in writing to the Deputy Minister of Health, the CEO of the NS Department of Seniors, the CEO of the Capital Health District and the physician in charge of the Driver Evaluation Program at Capital Health.

CARP Nova Scotia pointed out that this would be a huge disincentive to doctors when they consider whether or not to recommend their patients be evaluated. And, of course, many seniors will not be able to afford the over 1700% increase. An initial review of the charges in other Provinces indicates that the new Nova Scotia charges will be among the highest in the country. Naturally, the CARP Nova Scotia Chapter will be very concerned about this huge increase aimed directly at seniors in our province.

CARP will continue to advocate for a change in this policy. One alternative would be to have this service covered under the Province’s medical insurance plan for seniors.

The NS Minister of Seniors Denise Peterson-Rafuse has shown an interest in the issue and she and the CEO of the Department of Seniors have promised to investigate.

Bill VanGorder sits on the Nova Scotia Government’s Senior Save Driving Committee through the Department of Seniors. He will be asking the committee examine the process of evaluating senior drivers to see if it can come up with a more affordable solution — especially for rural seniors who have few other options when it come ageing in place in their home community.

CARP will continue to advocate for older drivers and remind government and stakeholders that while we support the government’s desire to reduce health costs and the taxes that support them, this must not be done in a way that puts all the financial responsibility on seniors in the Province.