Quick Facts about the Patient Travel Program

The Medical Transportation Program (Patient Travel) is a Non-insured Health Benefit that provides funding to registered First Nations persons to access medically required health services in the nearest appropriate health facility. It is not intended to cover all costs associated with a client’s medical condition and travel arrangements. The most economical and efficient means of transportation is to be used, taking into account the urgency of the situation and the condition of the client.
This is a supplementary program to meet needs NOT covered by provincial or other third party health insurance. If the nature of patient travel is related to a Work Safe or ICBC claim, the Patient Travel Program will not cover the cost of travel. The Patient Travel Program is the funder of last resort.

  • Clients must provide a referral from their GP or family physician and confirmation of their appointment from the health provider/facility 5-10 days prior to travel. Clients who fail to do this so may be required to reschedule their appointment or pay for their travel and be reimbursed upon their return to the community. The only exception to this is in the case of a medical emergency.
  • Arrangements are to be scheduled appropriately so that appointments and return home is done on the earliest available means. Clients who choose to stay longer will be responsible for any additional expenses and will be required to pay for the return portion of their trip.
  • The client must present the signed Confirmation of Appointment form upon their return to the community. This is an expectation of our Contribution Agreement with Health Canada. Failure to do so may result in denial of future travel funds.  Clients are to retain and submit all required receipts, including the return of provided BC Ferry cards.
  • Clients must give notice when cancelling an appointment PRIOR to the date of the appointment, including 24 hours notice to cancel any hotel arrangements. Clients who do not attend their medical appointments may be required to pay back any benefit they received and/or pay for their travel costs on subsequent travel.
  • Costs due to damage to property or the abuse of accommodation arrangements (excessive noise, drinking, stolen items, etc) will be the client’s financial responsibility and may have impact on future travel arrangements.
  • The Patient Travel Clerk has the right to refuse service to clients who are verbally abusive or threatening.

Eligible Costs

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  • Compassionate travel
  • Travel for clients in the care of federal/provincial institutions
  • Court ordered treatment/assessment or as a condition of parole
  • Travel for clients residing off reserve where appropriate health services are provided locally
  • Travel for third party requested examinations
  • The return trip home in cases of illness while away from home other than approved medical travel
  • Travel to pick up prescriptions or vision care
  • Payment of professional fees for Dr.’s notes or document preparation
  • Transportation to adult day care, respite care, and interval/safe houses.
  • The client is under the age of 19
  • The need for an escort is pre-approved (written format and falls within approved criteria as a benefit exception)
  • The client has a physical/mental disability requiring assistance with activities of daily living
  • The client requires assistance with activities of daily living because of their current medical condition
  • The client needs translator, if translation services are not provided at the health facility
  • A family member requires instruction on medical procedures that cannot be given to the client alone
  • Escorts are not provided for clients who are in the care of a hospital or long-term care facility for more than three days
  • Clients over 19 who are inpatients of a hospital, care facility, or rehabilitation facility
  • Clients who do not have a driver’s license and cannot drive
  • Clients who are nervous to fly or do not want to travel alone
  • Clients who want emotional support

Benefits may include assistance with meals and accommodation. When a trip includes an overnight or extended stay, the most economical and efficient accommodation will be chosen. Where accommodation and meals are provided, all other expenses are the responsibility of the client (telephone, movies, tips, property damage). Private stay accommodation is reimbursed at the rate of $30 per night, up to a maximum of $100 per week, which includes escort costs. Where possible, trips that are longer than five (5) days are to be made in establishments that have self-catering or cooking facilities. On-going medical care (ie. Dialysis) away from the community is not a medical transportation benefit. Clients who choose to make different arrangements will be responsible for the difference of cost.

Meals may be provided when the client is away from home for more than six (6) hours in a day ($10.00 for lunch). If the client’s medical condition warrants, $10.00 may be provided for meals if away from home for less than six (6) hours. If overnight stay is warranted, a per diem rate of $31.00 will be provided to the client.

Benefit exceptions must be prior approved by NIHB. Exception requests are submitted on the appropriate paper work with the appropriate documentation (name, date, DOB, address, travel arrangement required, copy of MD referral, confirmation of appointment, Physician escort form, and other supporting documentation).

Each benefit area has an appeal process. Appeals must be initiated and done by the client and not someone on behalf of the client. Please note that exclusions of the program are not subject to appeals.

In case of emergencies, you must bring back a copy of your discharge papers or a letter from your doctor/hospital to get reimbursement. Regular appointments require 5 business days notice, if not then you may be reimbursed for your own travel.

Here is a link to the Health Canada First Nations and Inuit Health Non-Insured Health Benefits Page for more information. Health Canada FNIH NIHB Page

8:00am – 4:00 pm (Monday to Friday)

Patient travel pickup is between 2:00pm and 3:30pm