Northern Health Travel Grant Program
Northern Health Travel Grants are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The grants help pay some of the travel related costs for Northern Ontario residents who must travel at least 100 kilometres one-way to access medical specialist or designated health care facility services that are not locally available. In addition, the NHTG Program provides an accommodation allowance of $100 per eligible trip to patients whose one-way road distance to the closest specialist or designated health care facility (e.g. hospital for MRI) able to provide the required services is at least 200 kilometres.
Effective December 1, 2012, the eligibility criteria for the accommodation allowance will change. Patients who travel at least 200km one-way to access the closest medical specialist services, or designated health care facility-based procedures must meet all of the following conditions, in order to be eligible for the $100 accommodation allowance per treatment trip:
- The patient meets the travel grant eligibility criteria items stipulated on the cover page of the Northern Health Travel Grant Application Form: Items #:1, 2, 4, 5 and 6;
- The patient has travelled at least 200km one-way to access the required OHIP insured services/facility-based procedures from his/her area of residence to the location of the nearest medical specialist/designated health care facility able to render the required services;
- For medical services rendered on, or after December 1, 2012, the patient submits an accommodation receipt to prove he/she incurred an accommodation expense.
Who is eligible for a travel grant?
You are eligible if:
- you are an OHIP insured Ontario resident on the date of treatment, your primary place of residence is in the districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Timiskaming or Thunder Bay;
- you are referred to a medical specialist or health care facility-based service under the Health Insurance Act;
- a northern physician, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor, midwife or nurse practitioner has referred you before the travel takes place;
- you are referred to a medical specialist who is certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), or a Winnipeg (Manitoba) physician enrolled on the Manitoba Health Specialist Register and permitted to bill as a specialist; or you are referred to a physician who holds a specialist certificate of registration issued by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) in a recognized medical or surgical specialty other than family or general practice; and
- the nearest specialist/designated health care facility able to provide the type of care you require in Ontario or Manitoba is at least 100 kilometres from your area of residence.
What is a health care facility designated by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care?
The following are examples of designated health care facilities:
- a cleft lip and palate clinic
- a clinic that tests for low vision
- an abortion clinic
- a clinic that can fit artificial limbs and walking aids and is approved by the ministry's Assistive Devices Program
- the Speech Foundation of Ontario, Toronto Children's Centre
- hospital for a procedure, e.g. MRI or CAT scan
- Regional Cancer Centre, e.g. for Chemotherapy
Contact the Claims Services Branch (CSB) office in Sudbury (refer to the last page for address and phone number) to find out if a particular health care facility has been designated by the ministry.
Can I see any specialist I choose?
You may visit any medical specialist who meets the above definition, hospital or designated health care facility in Ontario or Manitoba, however, the ministry travel grant is based on the distance to the closest specialist or health care facility able to provide the required health care services.
What is a procedure provided in a designated health care facility?
The following are examples of procedures performed in a designated health care facility:
- Chemotherapy at a regional cancer centre;
- MRI, or dialysis services performed in a hospital;
- Ultrasound, or Pulmonary Function Testing services rendered in a hospital.
What costs does the NHTG program help pay?
- Approved travel grants are paid at 41 cents per kilometre based on return road distance travel between a patient's area of residence and the location of the nearest medical specialist or designated health care facility that can provide the service. There is a deductible of 100 kilometres on your trip.
- The NHTG Program provides an accommodation allowance of $100 for each eligible treatment trip.
- Effective December 1, 2012, for medical services rendered on, or after December 1, 2012, the patient must submit an accommodation receipt to prove he/she incurred an accommodation expense.
- See Q & A for accommodations at the end of brochure under Accommodation.
- Travel grants help pay some of the travel related costs, but do not cover all expenses, such as meals.
How is the grant calculated?
Your grant will be based on the two-way road distance to the closest medical specialist, or designated health care facility. A deductible of 100 kilometres (km) on the trip will be applied. The grant is the same whether you travel by car, plane, train or bus. It is based on the return distance between the area in which you live and the nearest medical specialist or designated health care facility able to treat you.
If you and/or your companion travel by air, train or bus, you must provide a receipt/itinerary showing that a fare was paid. You do not need a receipt if you travel by a personal vehicle.
For medical services rendered on, or after December 1, 2012, the patient submits an accommodation receipt to prove he/she incurred an accommodation expense.
Does this grant cover all my travel costs?
No. The grant helps you pay for some travel related costs, including travel, and accommodation, but does not cover all expenses, such as meals.
The following shows how much of your costs the grant might cover:
The grant is the two-way distance minus 100km multiplied by 41 cents per km
The grant is the two-way distance minus 100km multiplied by 41 cents per km - i.e. (160 x 2) minus 100 x 41 = $90.20.
Eligible Grant from Point A to Point B (one-way distance = 160km):
- Travel Grant Calculation is (300km x 2) minus 100 x 41 = $205
- Accommodation allowance = $100.
- Total payment to the patient for the trip from C to D = (1) + (2) = $205 + $100 = $305
Eligible Grant from Point C to Point D (one-way distance = 300km)
Who is NOT eligible for a travel grant?
You do not qualify for a travel grant if:
- the care is related to a Workplace Safety and Insurance Board claim
- medical services and/or travel costs are paid by your employer
- another government program or organization pays for your travel e.g.: First Nations Band/Federal Government etc.
- the health care service is not an OHIP insured benefit
- the health care services have to do with a private insurance company - for example there is third party liability for medical travel costs, such as medical services related to a motor vehicle accident
- you travel round trip by ambulance
- the health care service is provided by a non-RCPSC certified medical specialist, and/or non-RCPSC certified physician in Winnipeg (Manitoba) who is not enrolled on the Manitoba Health Specialist Register; or the health care service is provided by a physician who does not hold a specialist certificate of registration issued by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) in a recognized medical or surgical specialty other than family or general practice
- the nearest specialist/designated health care facility is within 100 kilometres of your area of residence.
N.B. If you travel one way by ambulance and the other way by car or public transportation, you may qualify for a partial grant.
Do not apply for a travel grant when:
- you travel to an out-of-town specialist when a local physician (less than 100 km from your area of residence) can perform the same service (e.g. you prefer to follow-up with an out-of-town specialist who performed your surgery 5 years ago, even though a local specialist can provide the same service)
- your trip is for something other than health care
- your travel is paid for by another agency or government program
- you are traveling to visit a sick relative in hospital
- your travel is not within Ontario or Manitoba.
Can a person who helps me travel apply for a grant?
Yes, when the trip is by plane, train or bus, and your companion is 16 years of age or older. (If you and your companion travel both ways by a personal car, you and your companion can apply for an equal share of one grant). Also:
- you must be younger than 16 years of age, OR the northern health provider must indicate on the application form that you need a companion for health and safety reasons. For example, you may be in a wheelchair or have Alzheimer's disease.
- you must travel with the companion.
- a fare must be paid.
- Receipts or proof of payment or use of accumulated airline credits must be sent with the application if travel is by commercial means.
If I travel by car with a friend, do we each get a grant?
No, only one grant is payable if several family members or friends, who are also traveling for medical appointments together in the same car. However, if each of you meets program eligibility and the one-way travel to the nearest specialist/designated health care facility able to provide needed care is 200 km or more, you may each qualify for the $100.00 accommodation allowance.
How do I apply for a travel grant?
There are three steps:
- Your northern doctor, dentist, optometrist, midwife, nurse practitioner, chiropractor can give you an application form. Before you travel, you need a referral from a Northern Ontario referring health care provider. The referral section of the applications needs completion only every 12 months as long as the follow-up travel is to the same specialist or designated health care facility. If follow-up visits are made to a different specialist/designated health care facility or a new referral is required. If you are applying for a companion grant, your traveling companion must also fill in the appropriate section.
- Please note that women between the ages of 30 & 69 traveling to an Ontario Breast Screening Program do not need to have the referral section completed.
- A separate form must be completed for each round trip you make. Only one application can be submitted for each round trip regardless of the number of specialists visited during that round trip.
- The specialist you travel to see must fill in his or her section of the form.
- Include your accommodation, bus, rail or air travel receipts/itinerary, as well as those for any traveling companion. NHTG inquiries and application forms must be directed to the Sudbury, Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care, Claims Services Branch office and not to ServiceOntario Health Card Registration sites. Please refer to the end of this document for the Sudbury address and phone number.
N.B. Do not send photocopies.
NHTG inquiries and application forms must be directed to the Sudbury, Ministry of Health & Long Term Care, Claims Services Branch office. Please refer to the end of this document for the Sudbury address and phone number.
How much time do I have to submit my application?
All applications must be received by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care within twelve (12) months from the date of service.
How long will it take before the grant arrives?
A cheque will be mailed to you within approximately four to six weeks from the date the ministry receives your correctly completed application form. Please allow six weeks before making an inquiry regarding the status of your application.
Are grants available for travel to an abortion clinic?
Yes, if you seek an abortion at a ministry-designated health centre or hospital. You do not need a medical referral. You can get a travel grant application from your doctor, hospital or nearest Ministry of Health and Long- Term Care office.
NHTG Applicants who are incapable of giving Consent:
- For children under 16 years of age, a parent with custody, a children’s aid society or other person lawfully entitled to give consent for a child can do so, and sign the application form on behalf of the child.
- For incapable individuals who are 16 years of age or older, one of the following ranked persons can act as the individual’s substitute decision maker and consent or sign the application form on behalf of the incapable individual. If there is no person available and willing to act on behalf of the individual under the first category, someone in the next category can act on behalf of the individual, and so on:
- The patient’s guardian or guardian of property, if the consent relates to the guardian’s authority to make a decision on behalf of the patient.
- The patient’s attorney for personal care or attorney for property, if the consent relates to the attorney’s authority to make a decision on behalf of the patient.
- The patient’s representative appointed by the Consent and Capacity Board, if the representative has authority to give the consent.
- The patient’s spouse or partner.
- A child or parent of the patient, or a children’s aid society or other person who is lawfully entitled to give or refuse consent in the place of the parent. This paragraph does not include the parent.
- A parent of the patient with only a right of access to the individual.
- A brother or sister of the patient.
- Any other relative of the patient.
Accommodation Allowance Questions and Answers (Qs & As):
Why is there a change in policy that now requires a receipt to qualify for the accommodation allowance?
In keeping with the government’s commitment for careful spending of public funds, the NHTG Program is now requiring receipts for verification and audit purposes. Receipts must be submitted for medical services rendered on, or after December 1, 2012.
What is acceptable as a receipt? Can I submit copies?
Original itemized receipts must be submitted. “Original itemized receipt” refers to a receipt that lists the item(s) purchased and the individual price(s) for each item, for example from a hotel or motel. This is usually the same receipt that is produced by a cash register. The authorization receipt for a credit or debit card transaction is not considered an itemized receipt.
Where do I submit my receipt(s)?
Accommodation receipt(s), along with your application must be submitted to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 199 Larch Street, Suite 801, Sudbury ON P3E 5R1.
Does one have to pay for accommodation in order to qualify for an accommodation allowance?
In order to qualify for an accommodation allowance, a patient must meet the criteria stipulated in (a) and (b) above, and must also have incurred an accommodation expense and submit a receipt as proof of payment.
Can I use reward programs, such as air miles as payment for accommodation?
Yes, use of air miles, accompanied by a receipt is an acceptable method of payment.
The receipt is not in my name as a patient, will it still be accepted?
No, the receipt has to be in the name of the patient.
I stayed with family/friends; can I qualify for an accommodation allowance?
No, if you have not incurred an accommodation expense, you do not qualify for an accommodation allowance.
I had to stay more than one night; will the accommodation allowance cover the duration of my stay?
Only $100 accommodation allowance is payable per eligible treatment trip –this is not a reimbursement, and is not based on the number of lodging nights.
Are travel companions now eligible for an accommodation allowance?
No, companions are not eligible for an accommodation allowance.
Will my expenses for meals, taxi, etc. be covered if I don’t stay at a hotel?
No, the NHTG Program does not cover expenses for meals and taxi.
I lost my receipt and can’t get another one. Can you process my accommodation allowance?
No, an accommodation allowance will not be processed, unless a receipt is provided as proof of payment for an accommodation expense.
My one-way road distance to the specialist I was referred to is less than 200km, but I was asked by the specialist I saw not to drive and stay overnight. I have accommodation receipts for a night’s stay in the hotel – do I qualify for an accommodation allowance?
No, you don’t qualify for an accommodation allowance. You must meet the three conditions outlined above in order to qualify for an accommodation allowance, including the requirement for the minimum one-way road distance of at least 200km.
For more details, contact the Sudbury Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Claims Services Branch office:
199 Larch St., Suite 801
Sudbury, ON P3E 5R1
1 800 461-4006