Jun 2, 2017 @ 09:25
An NDP motion put before the Ontario Legislature by Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell calling for better access to health care for northerners received support from all parties Thursday. Campbell’s motion called for a significant overhaul of the Northern Health Travel Grant.
“Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government have ignored the needs of northerners for too long,” said Campbell. “I’m proud to stand up for people across the north who deserve timely and equitable access to health care no matter where they live.”
To better serve northerners, particularly those in underserviced communities, Campbell’s call for improvements to the Northern Health Travel Grant include:
- Access to all OHIP-insured services
- A broadening of eligible service locations including out-of-province facilities
- Increased accommodation allowances based on market prices
- The removal of administrative barriers to applicants
- Quicker processing times for applications.
“Today, members from all parties voted to overhaul the Northern Health Travel Grant which isn’t serving the needs of northerners in its current form,” said Campbell. “New Democrats will hold the government to this commitment, so that patients in the north can get access to the health care they need when they need it.”
Complete text of Campbell Motion
That, in the opinion of this House, the Government of Ontario should commit to equitable access to universal health care for Northern Ontarians, particularly those living in underserviced communities, by expanding the Northern Health Travel Grant (NHTG) program to include:
- All OHIP-insured services not available within 100km of a patient’s area of residence on referral of a health care or dental practitioner, thereby eliminating the current restriction to services performed by a specialist or in hospital;
- The broadening of eligible service locations to include out-of-province facilities, so that patients have the option to access Grant-covered services in locations closer to their place of residence, or for the purpose of accessing OHIP-insured services that are not offered or available in Ontario;
- Increasing the accommodation allowance for Grant-eligible patients to reflect the average cost of accommodation in the host community and adjusting the allowance on an annual basis to reflect market changes;
- Eliminating barriers related to program application, including modifications to the application process to allow for minor revisions and submission of missing information via electronic means such as facsimile or e-mail; and
- Improving processing times by instituting a maximum timeframe for the Ministry to complete its review of an NHTG application.