THUNDER BAY – MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell (Thunder Bay-Atikokan) is once again introducing a bill in the legislature to fix the Northern Health Travel Grant so families get more reimbursements when they have to travel to get health care.
“Too many Northerners have been left stuck with bills they incurred while travelling to receive needed medical treatment for themselves and for their families. They were never reimbursed as they should have been through the Northern Health Travel Grant,” said Monteith-Farrell.
“The program is broken but Doug Ford has refused to fix it even though he’s had my bill in his hands for over two years. Doug Ford leaves the people of Thunder Bay, Atikokan, and all of Northwestern Ontario to pay the price while he’s focused on using his power to benefit his buddies. The people of Northwestern Ontario deserve so much better – including better health care, and more affordability.
“It’s time to fix the Northern Health Travel Grant to give families here access to the health care they need without racking up credit card bills.”
Northern families are frustrated with the Northern Health Travel Grant. They are waiting too long for reimbursements and find it hard to get someone on the phone when they need help. Small mistakes can lead to major delays in processing, and the appeals process is too slow. Delays in reimbursements can have a major impact on the finances of people already dealing with health issues, particularly seniors and others living on fixed incomes.
“People across Northwestern Ontario have been clear that the Northern Health Travel Grant isn’t working for them, and that there are serious problems with it,” Monteith-Farrell said. “By fixing the travel grant, we can ensure more people get the care they need, when they need it. Being sick is stressful enough. It’s time to fix the travel grant so Northerners can focus on getting better, rather than worrying about how they’ll afford to get medical care.”
Last week, Monteith-Farrell reintroduced her bill to fix the Northern Health Travel Grant. Bill 46 would ensure the program is reviewed and improved, and that Northern Ontario residents get the support they need to access health care.
Joseph Beg, Thunder Bay resident waiting over 3 years for reimbursement after necessary travel to Sick Kids Hospital multiple times with their child.
“I just want a resolution. Its been over three years of trying to get answers from the NHTG office. We just want answers. We are incredibly frustrated that we are still waiting on reimbursement for our child’s necessary medical treatment. I just think about all the other families that would not have the money to pay for travel upfront. We want answers.”
Margaret Rea, Thunder Bay resident waiting for over six months for reimbursement after travelling to Manitoba for medical care.
“I am so outraged that our government would treat Northwestern Ontario residents as second class citizens. Residents of Northern and rural communities are not treated fairly by the government when it comes to our health care. It’s past time to fix the travel grant.”