Children and caregivers are eligible for up to $2K for from Sask. medical expenses

“Covered costs include the cost of air or car transportation, hotels or stays with relatives, and meals up to $2,000 per trip.”

Article content

Saskatchewan families with children who leave the province for medical treatment will likely receive some compensation from the province.

“Covered costs include the cost of air or car transportation, hotels or stays with relatives and meals up to $2,000 per trip,” according to a government news release issued Wednesday afternoon.

Article content

Pediatric patients 16 years and younger, as well as their caregiver, are retroactively eligible to April 1 of this year.

Advertisement 2

Article content

“We listen to families, we listen to children and we listen to frontline healthcare providers,” Health Minister Everett Hindley said from the meeting on Wednesday.

The announcement came following meetings with families, Hindley explained. He acknowledged the need other Saskatchewan patients have for the same type of travel, but emphasized that this particular program is “specific to children.”

The criteria is still being worked out as Saskatchewan looks to other provinces to see what their policies look like. The treatment must be medically necessary and not available in Saskatchewan, the news release said.

“This is something that requires a referral,” Hindley said, adding that the age limit of 16 is in line with Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital’s definition of a child.

Recommended by Editorial

Rural and remote NDP health critic Jared Clark questioned the timing of the announcement.

“Many families in need have been raising this issue for months,” Clarke said in a statement Wednesday. “It is sad that the Moe Minister waited to discuss it until the day before his appearance on the Evan Bray show where he was expected to be questioned about this very issue.”

Advertisement 3

Article content

“After 17 years of Sask. Party mismanagement, doctors are leaving and more Saskatchewan people are being forced to leave the province for health care that used to be offered at home,” the statement continued.

There are some procedures that are simply not being performed in Saskatchewan, the Health Minister noted, and while coverage is provided for the procedures themselves, this fund marks the first time the province has helped with travel costs.

Hindley says the government is working hard to recruit and retain health care providers in Saskatchewan, but knows that within the province’s borders “they will not absolutely be able to recruit and retain health care providers.”

“I don’t think that’s realistic,” he said.

The province is still determining whether clients with Saskatchewan Income Support and Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability can access this support.

Women who travel to a private clinic in Calgary for mammograms are not eligible, but will receive a $1,500 travel and lodging allowance for each patient, plus one support person through another funding arrangement.

[email protected]

The Regina Leader-Post has a Afternoon headlines newsletter that can be delivered daily to your inbox, so you are aware of the most important news of the day. Click here to subscribe.

Article content