Ferry passes available for off-Island medical travel
Eligible Islanders traveling out of province for medical services can now apply to have their ferry fare covered.
Hope Air – in collaboration with Health PEI – will pay for a Northumberland Ferries Limited pass for Islanders in financial need to attend medical appointments in Nova Scotia. The program began this week; to apply, visit Health PEI or call Hope Air toll-free at 1-877-346-HOPE (4673).
“We are pleased to partner with Health PEI on another innovative program that makes specialist medical care more accessible to Islanders,” says Hope Air Executive Director Doug Keller-Hobson. “The costs of travelling out-of-province for medical care can be high for families whose budgets are already stretched – this collaboration between Hope Air and Health PEI helps to defray the costs, so that patients can focus on getting back to good health.”
The Government of Prince Edward Island and Hope Air have collaborated on out-of-province travel support since 1988, first with the Hope Air Flights Program and then the Confederation Bridge Toll Program last December. In 2016, 98 flights were provided to eligible Islanders requiring out-of-province health care services, and 284 bridge passes have been issued since December.
Government’s balanced 2017-18 operating budget includes $45,000 for out-of-province travel assistance.
“It can be emotionally and financially challenging when a family member is sick, and worrying about travel arrangements is an added stress,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson said. “By providing free travel supports such as ferry passes and bridge tolls for Islanders who need out-of-province health care, we are helping to reduce barriers and ensuring families can concentrate on what matters most -- the health of their loved one.”
Islanders may be eligible for the free ferry pass program based on prior approval for out-of-province medical services from Health PEI, appointment confirmation, and household income review.
About Hope Air
Hope Air is the unique national charity that arranges free flights for Canadians in financial need who must travel long distances to access healthcare.
Since its founding in 1986, Hope Air has arranged over 116,000 flights for people in need across Canada.
Of the Islanders assisted by the air flights and bridge toll programs in 2016:
• 79 per cent were adults;
• 21 per cent were children;
• their average gross household income was $22,123;
• 45 per cent reported they would have incurred debt to finance their health-care travel needs without the support; and
• 18 per cent would have cancelled their medical appointment without the support.
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