For Immediate Release
September 8, 2023
NDP MHA Jordan Brown (Labrador West) is calling on government to ensure that patients aren’t burdened with the cost of medical travel in this province. The call comes after the government announced an online voucher system for patients accessing the Medical Transportation Assistance Program (MTAP) while still leaving patients paying out of pocket for flight costs exceeding $1000 per passenger. Currently, a flight for a passenger and their medical escort costs over $3000 return meaning the patient would still have to pay $1000 to follow through with a medical referral from a physician.
“Moving to an online voucher system is part of the MTAP improvements I called for, and it will address one pain point in the process, however patients are still on the hook when what airlines charge exceeds the government’s cap,” said Brown. “People in this province, be it rural parts of the island or across Labrador, should not pay out of pocket to access healthcare.”
Changes to the healthcare system have orthopaedic and cardiac patients being flown across the province to access care. Brown says there is no reason why medical transportation for other medical referrals should be treated differently and points to the Quebec model as something that should be explored. In Quebec patients call a hotline with a referral number from their physician and a flight is booked at no cost to the patient.
“This government applauds themselves for centralizing care for orthopaedics and cardiac stints and flies patients from all over the province for these procedures – why are they treating other medical referrals differently?” questioned Brown. “Families are facing ever-increasing costs of living and it’s tone deaf of this government to announce changes to MTAP where patients will still foot the bill.”
For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications at 709.729.2137