Medavie Health Services Messenger

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Stronger Together ― Celebrating Black Culture

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Each February, we join people across Canada to participate in Black History Month events that honour the impact and legacy of Black individuals and communities.

Once again, our month-long celebration at Medavie will center around the theme “Stronger Together ― Celebrating Black Culture”, which reflects our commitment to foster a respectful culture of belonging, where our teams, patients, customers, partners and communities are valued for who they are and what they contribute.

As we continue our work toward building a more inclusive organization at Medavie, Black History Month provides a welcome opportunity to learn more about the contributions and accomplishments of Black individuals and communities, how they continue to help shape the story of Canada, and how we can become better allies — as individuals and as an organization.

Employee Spotlights

This year’s celebration will shine a spotlight on Medavie employees who will share what it’s like being Black in Canada and how we, as Canadians and colleagues, can support them.

Virtual Presentations

Equal access to health care will be the focus of two special online roundtables in English and French on February 22. Guest speaker will be Dr. Vanessa Prosper, a licensed psychologist with over 20 years of clinical experience working with racially and ethnically diverse patients, including Haitian immigrants.

T-Shirts

In support of Black culture, we will again have t-shirts inscribed with our theme and artwork by visual designer Kyera Mapp. The shirts will be available for purchase on the Medavie Boutique (password: medavie) with all proceeds going back to the artist.

Learning Resources

Our DEI resource centre will have learning resources available that highlight the important contributions Black individuals and communities have made to Canada’s history and continued growth. We can all take this time to gain knowledge and be part of the conversation toward a more culturally diverse, equitable and inclusive country and workplace.

As we move through this celebration, we are mindful of the need to support Black individuals and communities in their ongoing pursuit of greater fairness and equality, especially in light of recent events.

Bernard Lord

CEO, Medavie

Nathan Burrill, Trainer/Quality Assurance RN, Medavie Blue Cross

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Every day, Medavie’s team of more than 8,000 professionals work to improve the wellbeing of Canadians. Join us as they share their stories and show how we deliver on our mission and bring our values to life. These are the people who make Medavie what it is today.

This article discusses topics of mental illness, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and more. Please stop reading if any of these themes may be potentially upsetting.

To a casual onlooker, Nathan Burrill lives an unassuming life. Married with four children, ages 7 to 13, he has a rewarding job as a Trainer/Quality Assurance RN for Medavie Blue Cross’s Medication Authorization Centre (MAC) Pharmacy. Drawing on his nursing background, Nathan helps train new Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and analysts on Special Authorization rules and regulations and performs quality assurance audits. When he’s not working, the 37-year-old enjoys living near the ocean, spending time with family doing aquatic activities, gardening, reading, fishing and playing guitar.

Nathan and wife Katrina and their children Asher, Enya, Christian and Daniel

But the journey to reach this stage has been anything but idyllic. He’s had to overcome a number of obstacles along the way, stemming from his clinical diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. This makes Nathan among the one in five working Canadians who have been diagnosed with a mental illness.

From a young age, Nathan had concerns about his psychological health.

“My emotional feelings and responses did not match the situations I was in. This led to fighting and irritability as a child.”

He played hockey as an outlet and as catharsis for his emotions. However, by the time he was a teenager, his responses to situations were overwhelming, and he began self-harming to cope. His symptoms only worsened when he reached adulthood, and the pressures of daily life intensified.

“I started having chronic feelings of emptiness and unhappiness, dissociating, hallucinating at night, having racing thoughts and eventually worsening self-harm and then suicidal ideations. I went to the ER for help and entered the mental health system.”

Nathan with his Australian Shepherd mix Jack

Despite his condition, Nathan earned a diploma in Chemical Engineering Technology and worked to support his growing family, initially as a laboratory technician in an analytical laboratory. However, when his mental health reached a crisis point, Nathan had to leave his job.

After several working diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar II Disorder, multiple hospitalizations and trials on medications, Nathan still saw little to no success. This was when he began dialectal behavioural therapy. Finally, he had mental health professionals who could explain exactly what he was feeling and why. Not only did he find the sessions helpful and eye-opening, but Nathan says his therapist was also instrumental in saving his life.

By this time, he had been hired by Medavie Blue Cross to do data entry, advancing quickly from a temporary to a full-time position.

“This department, and my team lead, were supportive of my therapy schedule and allowed me the time to go. Though I didn’t share the extent of my problems with my leaders, I did feel safe enough to ask for time for therapy. By feeling this support and by having an environment where I succeeded, I started to do better. I was able to provide for my family, to work a steady schedule and to get the help I needed.”

After a few years, and with now three children at home, Nathan was ready to make a career change that would increase his earning potential.

The first step in that path was returning to university to study nursing while continuing to work for Medavie Blue Cross during the summers.

Nathan, nursing degree grad photo

Nathan says his proudest professional achievement is obtaining his nursing degree as a mature student, winning several scholarships, and achieving a cumulative 4.0 GPA over four years while raising a young family with his wife.

“I am proud that with good support, hard work and dedication, I was able to accomplish something I didn’t think that I could do.”

After he finished his degree, Nathan accepted a position at the Saint John Regional Hospital on the cardiac surgery floor. However, having an interrupted sleep schedule due to shift work and being away from his family took its toll and put him at risk for a relapse of borderline symptoms. He reapplied to Medavie Blue Cross.

“I was hired to work in [the] MAC Pharmacy as a nurse and have been very successful in this role. I’m able to support my family and to work a steady schedule. I am able to use my skills (intellect, fast thinking, keyboarding) and to have some accommodations for some of my weaknesses. This has made for a safe and comfortable workplace where I can be my best.”

Nathan notes that as a health insurer, Medavie Blue Cross requires health experts of all sorts, including nurses, who perform a variety of roles.

Nurses make great doorkeepers, collaborators, and decision-makers in this environment, as they have the ability to talk with all health professionals and have the ability to make good health decisions quickly under pressure. This makes them an integral part of Medavie’s team.”

Nathan appreciates his employer’s commitment to work-life balance.

“I can perform better in my roles outside of the workplace with my consistent schedule at Medavie.”

He also appreciates his employer’s openness to employee input.

At Medavie, there are opportunities provided for everyone to express opinions and make change when a good case can be made.”

Nathan, newly graduated RN

Though Nathan still struggles with chronic feelings of emptiness and unhappiness, he has learned to cope using the tools he acquired from psychotherapy. This allows him to be the husband, father and employee he needs to be and to “make the world a better place” for those around him.

“I am doing so much better, and many people would not be aware I had anything wrong.”

Nathan agreed to tell his story to support others with a mental health concerns.

“I am a big believer in sharing the truth in our stories so that others will feel braver to open up about themselves too.”

Nathan says the main challenge of living with mental illness is that it doesn’t go away. His advice to someone experiencing the same?

“Don’t hide how you’re feeling, and don’t repress your feeling. Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Take ownership of your actions and change the things you can.”

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Black History Month T-shirts available for purchase

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February is Black History Month. It is an opportunity for us to celebrate Black culture, as well as the contributions and achievements of Black individuals throughout history. It is also a time to reflect on the conversations around racial equity and inclusion.

At Medavie, we are committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of our organization. We believe that everyone should have an equal opportunity to succeed and that a diverse workforce leads to better decision making, innovation and overall success.

Black History Month T-shirts

In support of Black culture, Medavie has worked with Black Canadian artist Kyera Mapp to design a one-of-a-kind T-shirt which is available for purchase on the Medavie Boutique (Password: medavie). 

By purchasing a T-shirt, you will support Kyera and the great work she’s doing.

Update your email signature

Using Kyera’s design, we created a customized email signature template. There are two options:

Copy/paste or insert as an attachment.

Copy/Paste:

  • Right-click on the banner and select Copy
  • In Outlook, click on New Message, then choose Signature
  • Select your current signature, then put your cursor at the bottom below all the current text
  • Right-click and select Paste
  • Click Ok to save your email signature

Insert as an attachment:

  • Save the banner in your files where it is easy to find
  • In Outlook, click on New Message, then choose Signature
  • Select your current signature, then put your mouse at the bottom below all the current text
  • Select the Browse button under the Edit Signature section. It should look like this:
  • Go to where you saved the banner in your files, select the file and click Insert
  • Click Ok to save your email signature

Resources

In addition, through out the month of February, we’ll have a variety of resources available to celebrate Black culture, and to share knowledge and information on issues related to race and equity.

See below the recording from last year’s Black History Month webinars that discuss these topics, we encourage you to take the time to watch and learn from them.

Black History Month is a time of year where we can reflect on the progress we have made as an organization and to recommit ourselves to the work that still needs to be done. We look forward to celebrating Black culture at Medavie, stay tuned for more information on activities that we have planned. 

At Medavie, Improving the Wellbeing of Canadians Starts with Employees

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The following article appears in the January 2022 issue of Atlantic Business Magazine, which names Medavie as one of Atlantic Canada’s best workplaces and whose readers voted Medavie Blue Cross as the region’s best health insurer for the third consecutive year.

“People work with us because they believe in what we do and want to be part of working toward a healthier Canada. Every day, across our organization, there are inspiring examples of our employees rising to support their communities, creating change and making a meaningful difference. That’s what Medavie is about.” -Bernard Lord

Across nine provinces, Medavie’s team of over 8,000 is united by a mission to improve the wellbeing of Canadians and guided by shared values of being caring, accountable, responsive, innovative and community-minded.

It’s no surprise, then, that over the past year, Medavie has received multiple awards for excellence, including: One of the Best Places to Work in Atlantic Canada; Canada’s Top 100 Employers; one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures and certification as an Imagine Canada Caring Company. Medavie Blue Cross received Atlantic Business Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Atlantic Canada’s Best Health Insurance Provider and was recently an Insurance Business Canada Excellence Awardee in four categories: Life & Health Insurer of the Year, Digital Innovator of the Year, Excellence in Claims Service and Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility.

Medavie’s beginnings go back to 1943 when the organization was founded as a co-operative to make hospital stays more affordable. Today, that same drive to create meaningful and important change, fostered by a core set of values, has never been more powerful or evident.

As a health solutions partner, Medavie, through Medavie Blue Cross and Medavie Health Services, continues to develop and deliver innovative and responsive health care services and solutions to meet the evolving needs of its clients, plan members, patients, partners and communities. For instance, through Connected Care, a digital health platform that gives plan members access to a variety of virtual health care services and supports – digital therapy, text therapy, mindfulness, pharmacogenetic testing, virtual physiotherapy and online doctors. As well, through various mobile integrated health programs that use patient-centred, mobile resources in out-of-hospital environ­ments – community paramedicine, a 24/7 mobile mental health response service, a mobile health bus and more.

“It’s about bringing care to people, when and where they need it.”Bernard Lord

As a not-for-profit organization, Medavie is also committed to its philanthropic work. Through the Medavie Foundation, the organization has invested more than $26 million in community-based organizations since 2011 focused on its core causes of healthy food, active living, youth mental health and post-traumatic stress. This also extends to the causes close to the hearts of Medavie’s employees, by matching the personal hours they volunteer and the dollars they raise through established Time Equals Money and Team Matching Programs.

Importantly, Medavie invests in the wellbeing of its employees. Recognizing that its people are the foundation of its success, Medavie strives to foster an inclusive environment where everyone is comfortable bringing their true selves to work.

To support its employees, Medavie offers flexible work options, family-friendly benefits, performance-based incentives, mentoring and leadership development, training assistance and much more.

“The goal is to ensure our people feel connected, included and inspired in supporting our mission – whether working remotely, in the office or on the front lines of health care.”Bernard Lord

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One step at a time!

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Nancy Dubois

Rehabilitation Consultant, Montreal

Since I was little, I have been described as the sportswoman in the family! I have played many sports in my life, but the ones I have been most involved with are synchronized skating and running.

I participated in the Canadian Synchronized Skating Championships a few times and pursued this passion until motherhood called! When I was 40, I signed up for a challenge to run a relay from Montreal to New York to raise money for various causes.

Unfortunately, the pandemic completely altered my lifestyle, as it did for many people. I was deprived of activities that I loved and that supported my physical and mental well-being.

Since then, I’ve had a hard time getting back into my good habits. During our team meetings, I noticed that some of my colleagues were walking on a treadmill. This motivated me to use my Medavie personal wellness account to purchase one so that I could get a little exercise in during my work hours.

I also downloaded the INSPIRE app, which allows me to log my steps and collect points towards earning rewards. I like the social aspect of the app. My co-worker and I set up challenges with each other which motivates us to move more!

The comfort of my work environment is also very important to me as I spend many hours there. As such, I bought an adjustable desk and a heated footrest. I also take the time to light a candle every day. These little things bring me joy during my workday and have a positive impact on my long-term well-being.

I have always believed that our mental health is just as important as our physical health, but our hectic lifestyles often lead us to neglect both. I encourage all employees to use the resources Medavie offers to take care of our well-being. And if you need a little motivation or friendly competition, feel free to add me on INSPIRE!

Sign in to INSPIRE today to set up the healthy habits you want to track. You’ll earn points for completing daily healthy activities and recognizing your peers for living our values. The more activities and points you earn, the more raffle entries you receive, and at the end of each quarter, we draw 400 prizes of $20 PulseCash which can be redeemed for fitness trackers and a variety of gift cards such as a Prepaid Visa Card, Hudson’s Bay, Amazon.ca and much more!

We want to hear from you!
If you have a personal story to share or are a leader who wants to share how your team supports wellbeing, email us at: wellnessnewsnouvellesmieuxetre@medavie.ca

Corporate Social Responsibility is in our DNA

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As a trusted health solutions partner, we see our role not only as a health benefits and health service provider but as a steward of society – an organization that contributes to the greater good.

You could say that corporate social responsibility is in our DNA. Medavie was built on a foundation of social good, dating back to 1943 when we were founded as a co-operative to provide affordable coverage for hospital stays.

As a not-for-profit, we are regulated and access our capital differently. Unlike a for-profit that has to answer to shareholders and deliver dividends, we reinvest our earnings in our business to advance new technologies and innovations, and in our communities to help address some of the most pressing health care challenges Canada faces.

Partnerships and programs

Nancy Theriault, Pride Parade, Moncton 

As a corporate citizen, we partner with community-based organizations through our foundation and invest in initiatives that make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians, particularly by investing in increased access to healthy food and active living, as well as youth mental health services and supports. We also support programs for Public Safety Personnel and their families impacted by Post-Traumatic Stress.

Since 2011, we have contributed more than $26.5 million to community-based organizations through the Medavie Foundation alone.

We balance purpose and performance by taking a values-driven approach to business that emphasizes the importance of being caring, accountable, responsive, innovative and community-minded to our individual and collective wellbeing. These values guide our team of more than 8,000 professionals in nine provinces every day.

Our community giving extends to the causes close to our employees’ hearts, matching the personal hours they volunteer and the dollars they raise through our Time Equals Money and Team Matching Programs. That’s in addition to the investments we make through our Building Healthy Communities sponsorships.

In 2022, our community giving totalled $4.8 million and supported over 100 community-based organizations and initiatives across Canada.

Visit Medavie.ca to read the full story.

LifeFlight, Community Paramedics Deliver Joy Filling Helicopters, Ambulances with Food and Toys

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Every day, Medavie’s team of more than 8,000 professionals work to improve the wellbeing of Canadians. Join us as they share their stories and show how we deliver on our mission and bring our values to life. These are the people who make Medavie what it is today.

What started as a simple idea to raise money and collect items for families in need has soared to new heights. In 2018, the staff of Emergency Health Services (EHS) LifeFlight, which treats and transports critically ill patients by air, launched what they dubbed an Acts of Kindness Fund. The event was conceived by the LifeFlight team as a way to give back to the community.

Each year, the LifeFlight crew hosts an open house and toy drive, where all EHS Operations employees are invited to bring what they can to stuff a helicopter full of toys. In the latest example of how much the initiative has grown, the fifth edition of the ‘Stuff a Helicopter’ Toy Drive, held on December 13, was its biggest and best yet.

Crystal Upshaw, far left, EHS LifeFlight Stuff a Helicopter event

“We’re setting examples of paying it forward in hopes it inspires others. For the staff, it’s really important for us to give back to the community and show that we care. The thing I, and all crew members, really love is to inspire others to do the same.”Crystal Upshaw, Critical Care Flight Nurse

What the LifeFlight team didn’t know when they first started the Acts of Kindness Fund was the impact a partnership with a local family — with that very same goal — would have on their simple idea.

Visit Medavie.ca to read the full story.

‘Tis the Season: Creating Holiday Cheer in Our Communities

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Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Whether it is through toy drives, food drives, participating in local Christmas parades and more, our Medavie Health Services employees are creating holiday cheer in our communities across Canada. As the year approaches the end, the holidays are a time to give, reflect and spend quality time with friends and family. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season, and a great 2023. Thank you to our employees who embody Medavie’s values of being caring and community-minded all year round!

Find your passion and train with purpose!

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Sylvia Atkinson

Manager, Life & Disability Management; Toronto

Throughout my life, I’ve always been athletic but back in 2017, I realized I had lost a healthy balance and decided to regain control of my physical wellbeing. I found a group exercise class that I enjoyed, which motivated me to get back into a regular routine. The class taught me the importance of being strong which helped me with my confidence and my mental health.

I decided to use my Medavie personal wellness account to sign up for personal training sessions to learn more about how to build a strong body. Due to my competitive nature, my trainer encouraged me to train for a strength-type sport. Although it was overwhelming to think about starting a new sport at age 45, I was locked in with the concept of training with purpose and started to powerlift! By September 2018, I competed in my first powerlifting competition and came in first place.

Since then, I have participated in multiple competitions and have held several provincial and national records, including most recently being selected to represent Team Canada. This is the highest level to compete at. I never would have thought that at 49 years young I am the strongest I have ever been in my life, both mentally and physically! 

Wellness is a passion of mine and I hope to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle, including my team at work. We have a Webex group chat called “self care get your wellness on” where we share all things wellness (Inspire challenges, photos, successes, etc.) to motivate and keep each other accountable.

If there’s one thing I can leave you with today, it’s that you’re never too old to try something new. Find your passion and train with purpose!

Don’t forget to use your Personal Wellness Account by December 31, 2022.
Friendly reminder that your Personal Wellness Account funds are set to expire December 31 and do not roll over. So, use it now and get reimbursed for various lifestyle-related options, such as ski-lift passes, gym memberships, cooking classes, and more!

We want to hear from you!
If you have a wellbeing story to share or know someone who does, email us at: wellnessnewsnouvellesmieuxetre@medavie.ca

We have a winner in the United Way Gift Card Challenge

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And it’s a wrap!

Medavie’s 2022 United Way Employee Giving campaign was a success thanks to you! As of today, November 30, we raised $39,974.18 in this year’s campaign. Medavie Foundation will be donating an additional $100,000 making a total of $139,974.18 donations to United Way.

Thank you for coming together to make a lasting impact on the individuals, families and communities that need our help the most.

United Way Survivor Gift Card Challenge

We thank everyone who participated in our first United Way survivor gift card challenge. We had 80 participants this year, with a total of eleven (11) elimination draws.

Congratulations to our Winners!

The final survivor and winner of the gift card pot challenge is Martin Legault. Congratulations on winning the $800 gift card pot.

Below are the top five survivors who won $100 Medavie Boutique gift cards

  • Anindita Datta
  • Jani Long
  • Amanda Nailor
  • Kathy Toner
  • Jeffrey Towers

Thank you for living our values of being caring and community minded. #Unitedbycompassion