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Northern Health Travel Grants

Brochure: Northern Health Travel Grants [PDF]

OHIP: Northern Health Travel Grants (NHTG), if you qualify; are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Please Consider Telemedicine Instead of Travel: A telemedicine appointment with Ontario Telemedicine Network is just like an in-person visit; only the physician uses a monitor, allowing you to avoid the growing costs and challenges associated with long distance travel. Ask your health care provider if videoconferencing is right for you.

How the grant program works?

If you qualify, your grant will be based on the distance you travel:

  • at least 100 kilometres (km) one-way road distance to access a medical specialist or approved health care facility services that are not available locally.

What costs does the NHTG program help pay?

Travel:

Approved travel grants are paid at 41 cents per kilometre based on return road distance travel between your area of residence and the location of the nearest medical specialist, or approved health care facility that can provide the service. There is a deductible of 100 kilometres on your trip.

Refer to “How is the travel grant calculated?” for further information.

Accommodation Allowance

The NHTG Program also offers an accommodation allowance of $100.00 per eligible trip to patients whose:

  • one-way road distance to the closest specialist or approved health care facility who are able to provide the required services (e.g. hospital for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)) is at least 200 kilometres
  • you must submit an accommodation receipt in your name to prove you paid an accommodation expense. For a child under 16 years of age, an accommodation allowance receipt can be in the name of his/her parent/guardian.

Note: you can apply for only one travel grant and one accommodation allowance for each round trip you take for medical treatment. The grants do not pay all of your expenses, such as meals.

Refer to the Questions & Answers for Accommodation Allowance at the end of this brochure.

Will the NHTG Program 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.

How is the travel grant calculated?

Your grant will be based on the one-way road distance to the closest medical specialist, or approved health care facility. If you are returning, the one-way road distance is multiplied by 2 in order to calculate the total grant. A deductible of 100 kilometres 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 approved health care facility able to treat you. For commercial travel (air, bus, rail), an original ticket/receipt/itinerary showing a fare paid, identifying who is travelling, the date of the travel and destination is required. Do not submit meal, or gas receipts.

The ministry may require gas receipts under certain circumstances, and will notify you if gas receipts are needed.

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.

Example One

Eligible Grant from Point A to Point B (one-way distance = 160km):

The grant is the two-way distance minus 100km multiplied by 41 cents per km - i.e. (160km x 2) minus 100 x 41 = $90.20.

Example Two

Eligible Grant from Point C to Point D (one-way distance = 300km)

  1. Travel Grant Calculation is (300km x 2) minus 100 x 41 = $205.00
  2. Accommodation allowance = $100.00
  3. Total payment to the patient for the trip from C to D = (1) + (2) = $205 + $100 = $305.00

You do not qualify for a travel grant if:

  • the health care service is not an OHIP- insured benefit
  • 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 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 or not in an approved health care facility
  • the nearest specialist/approved health care facility is within 100 kilometres of your area of residence.

Note: If you travel one way by ambulance and the other way by car, or public transportation, you may qualify for a partial grant.

What can I do if my application for an NHTG grant is denied?

You can request a review within 12 months from the date provided on the denial letter mailed to you.

If there are exceptional medical circumstances surrounding your treatment trip that may allow an exception to the program eligibility criteria, you may appeal your denial decision to the newly developed NHTG Medical Appeals Committee in writing to:

Medical Appeals Committee
Care of: Northern Health Programs
159 Cedar Street, Suite 402
Sudbury, ON  P3E 6A5
705-564-7280
1-866-727-9959

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 travelling to visit a sick relative in hospital
  • your travel is not within Ontario or Manitoba.

Who is eligible for a travel grant?

You are eligible if all of the terms below are met:

  • you are an OHIP- insured Ontario resident on the date of treatment, and your primary place of residence is in the districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, or Timiskaming;
  • 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 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, or you are referred to an approved health care facility-based service under the Health Insurance Act for treatment by a provider in the facility (e.g. a midwife for hospital childbirth; technician for PET scan, or chemotherapy); and
  • the nearest specialist or approved 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.

If you do not have a northern referring provider, you may still qualify for a travel grant. Please contact the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Claims Services Branch, at (705) 675-4010, or 1 800-461-4006.

What is a health care facility approved by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care?

The following are examples of approved health care facilities:

  • a cleft lip and palate clinic
  • a clinic that tests for low vision
  • 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
  • Regional Cancer Centre

Can I see any specialist I choose?

You may visit any medical specialist who meets the above definition, hospital or approved health care facility in Ontario or Winnipeg (Manitoba); however, the 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 an approved health care facility?

The following are examples of procedures performed in an approved health care facility:

  1. Chemotherapy at a regional cancer centre;
  2. MRI, or dialysis services performed in a hospital;
  3. Ultrasound or Pulmonary Function Testing services made in a hospital.

Can a person who helps me travel apply for a grant?

Yes, if the person that helps you during travel and is 16 years of age or older. If the travel is by air, rail or bus, you and your travel companion may each be eligible for a grant. If travel is by personal vehicle, you and your travel companion may be eligible for an equal share of one grant. In addition:

  • you must be younger than 16 years of age, or the northern referring provider must indicate on the application form that you need a companion for health and safety reasons
  • you must be helped during travel by the companion
  • a fare must be paid, if travel is by commercial means and a travel schedule must be provided
  • airline credits or points are acceptable as proof of fare.

If I travel by car/vehicle with another person travelling for a medical appointment, do we each get a grant?

No, only one grant is payable if several individuals are travelling for medical appointments together in the same car/vehicle. However, if each of you meets program eligibility and the one-way travel to the nearest specialist/approved health care facility able to provide needed care is at least 200 kilometres, you may each qualify for the $100.00 accommodation allowance.

How do I apply for a travel grant?

  1. Applications forms are available from your northern doctor, dentist, optometrist, midwife, nurse practitioner, and chiropractor; or online at the following link: http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/GetFileAttach/014-0327-88~5/$File/0327-88E.pdf. 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 approved health care facility. If follow-up visits are made to a different specialist/approved health care facility, a new referral is required. If you are applying for a companion grant, your travelling companion must also fill in the appropriate section.
  2. Please note that women between the ages of 30 & 69 travelling to an Ontario Breast Screening Program do not need to have the referral section completed.
  3. A separate application form must be completed for each round trip. Only one application can be submitted for each round trip regardless of the number of specialists visited during that round trip.
  4. The specialist you travel to see must fill in his or her section of the form.
  5. Include your accommodation, bus, rail or air travel receipts/itinerary, as well as those for any travelling companion.  NHTG inquiries and application forms should be directed to the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care, Claims Services Branch office in Sudbury.  Please refer to the end of this document for the Sudbury Claims Services Branch address and phone number.

Note: Do not send photocopies.

How much time do I have to submit my application?

All applications must be received by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Claims Services Branch, Northern Health Travel Grant, Sudbury office, within twelve (12) months from the date of service.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is not responsible for applications that are lost in the mail, or received after 12 months.

How long will it take for my travel grant to be paid?

If your application is approved, a cheque will be mailed to you within six weeks from the date the ministry receives your correctly completed application form.  Please allow six weeks before making an enquiry regarding the status of your application.

Are grants available for travel to an abortion clinic?

Yes. You do not need a medical referral.

Can I apply for an NHTG grant and sign the application form on behalf of my child?

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.

Can I apply for an NHTG grant and sign the application form on behalf of an applicant who is incapable of giving Consent?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The patient’s representative appointed by the Consent and Capacity Board, if the representative has authority to give the consent.
  4. The patient’s spouse or partner.
  5. 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.
  6. A parent of the patient with only a right of access to the individual.
  7. A brother or sister of the patient.
  8. Any other relative of the patient.

Questions & Answers for Accommodation Allowance

Who is eligible for an accommodation allowance?

Patients who travel at least 200km one-way to access the closest medical specialist services, or approved health care facility-based procedures must meet all of the following conditions, in order to be eligible for the $100.00 accommodation allowance per treatment trip:

  1. 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;
  2. 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/approved health care facility able to render the required services;
  3. The patient submits an accommodation receipt in his/her name, to prove he/she paid an accommodation expense. For a child under 16 years of age, an accommodation allowance receipt can be in the name of his/her parent/guardian.

Why is a receipt required to qualify for the accommodation allowance?

In keeping with the government’s commitment for careful spending of public funds, the NHTG Program requires receipts for proof and audit purposes.

What is acceptable as a receipt for the accommodation allowance?

Official itemized receipts must be submitted, along with the application. “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, motel or bed and breakfast. The accommodation receipt must include the name of the patient, the date(s) of stay, and a fee paid for the stay. 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, Claims Services Branch, Northern Health Travel Grant, 199 Larch Street, Suite 801, Sudbury ON P3E 5R1.

Do I have to pay for accommodation in order to qualify for an accommodation allowance?

In order to qualify for an accommodation allowance, you must meet the criteria stipulated in (a) and (b) above, and must also have paid an accommodation expense and submit a receipt, in your name, as proof of payment.

Can I use reward and/or loyalty programs, such as air miles as payment for accommodation?

Yes, use of air miles, or other loyalty programs, accompanied by a receipt is an acceptable method of payment.

I stayed with family/friends; can I qualify for an accommodation allowance?

No, if you have not paid an official 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 $100.00 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.

For more details, contact the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Claims Services Branch, Northern Health Travel Grant, Sudbury office:

199 Larch St., Suite 801
Sudbury, ON  P3E 5R1
(705) 675-4010
1 800 461-4006

Sudbury Claims Services Branch hours of business are 8:30 am. - 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Telephone calls are answered by the third ring. During periods of higher than normal call volumes, calls are placed into a queue and answered in order.

Voice mail messages will be returned within one business day (24 hrs.)

Correspondence (mail, fax) will be responded to within fifteen (15) business days from the date of receipt.

 

For More Information

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