lovmehepCChapter Volunteer, Peter Czehryn, sat in on the webinar arranged by the Joint Committee that implements the 1986-1990 Hepatitis C Settlement Agreement and who supervise the ongoing administration of claims. Peter is the CHS-MC representative that sits on the CHS national HIV/HCV Task Force. These are his notes:

The Joint Committee discussed whether the existing plan and scheduled payments have proved to have been adequate so far.  In addition, the ripple effect has been greater than imagined when the plan was first set up, for example, the inability to sustain pensions, CPP, and some health benefit plans was discussed along with acknowledgment of the Irish insurance plan.

 Another critical issue was that the loss of income payment ends when the claimant reaches 65 and is deemed to have retired.  This puts surviving spouses and their families into financial hardship.  Other issues that came up were the arbitrariness and inherent unfairness to the plan application deadlines, and the possibility of the Federal Government to make a claim or “clawback” some of the surplus since the original agreement was to have the Federal Government keep any remaining funds at the end of the 80 year plan lifetime.

 I was struck by how unique the individual situations were for all the different class members and the impact on their families and surviving members.  The consensus was that any enhancements to the plan that would address flaws and missing situations should be made on an individual case basis rather than equal splitting or broad lump sum category payments.

 To sum up, I was impressed by the two lawyers who moderated the webinar and I am confident that the joint committee application for the surplus funds will be comprehensive and take into account individual situations.

 I would encourage any members currently infected with HCV who are either part of the plan or who have missed the deadlines because they have just learned about their infection or a member passed before they had a chance to complete the application, to come forward and attend one of the webinars or send a letter of their circumstance and any ways they would suggest the plan could be made more accessible and fair to infected applicants and their families.  I am attaching the contact names and schedule of remaining webinar dates.

Joint Committee Contacts033