New bridge toll option for some off-Island medical travel

Islanders requiring out-of-province medical services will benefit from a new bridge toll program coming next month.

Hope Air -- in collaboration with Health PEI -- will pay for a Confederation Bridge pass for Islanders in financial need to attend medical appointments in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia. The program begins December 1; to apply, visit Health PEI or call Hope Air toll-free at 1-877-346-HOPE (4673).

“An illness in your family can be emotionally and financially challenging, and worrying about travel arrangements can lead to more stress,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson. “By providing free Confederation Bridge passes to Islanders who are in need and require out-of-province health care services, we are helping to reduce barriers and ensure families can concentrate on what matters most -- the health of their loved one.”

Islanders may be eligible for the Bridge Toll Program based on prior approval for out-of-province medical services from Health PEI, appointment confirmation, and household income review.

The Government of Prince Edward Island has had a long-standing collaboration with Hope Air since 1988, providing Islanders with out-of-province air travel support through the Hope Air Flights Program. Of the 99 flights Hope Air arranged in 2015 for out-of-province health care services for Islanders, 42 per cent of the clients reported they would otherwise have incurred debt to attend their appointment and 23 per cent said they would have cancelled or postponed it for financial reasons.

“We are delighted to expand the cooperative partnership of Health PEI and Hope Air by covering the bridge toll for eligible Islanders,” said Doug Keller-Hobson, Hope Air executive director.  “This removes a financial barrier and ensures Islanders can make their out-of-province medical appointments, in keeping with Hope Air’s vision of everyone in Canada accessing health care regardless of distance or cost of travel.”

For more information visit Health PEI’s Out-of-Province Travel Programs or Hope Air.

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 110,000 flights for people in need across Canada.

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
Senior Communications Officer
Health PEI
(902) 368-6135

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