Getting There and Home
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Transportation options to or from health care services

Transportation is a vital link within the health-care system. Whether you require transportation to hospital, residential care facility, or a medical appointment, there are transportation resources available to meet your needs.

Getting to where you need to be can involve a mix of public and private service providers. The goal is to match the transportation resource to the client’s care needs in a timely and cost-effective manner.

In an emergency

In an emergency, calling 9-1-1 provides you with direct access to all emergency service providers in BC, including ambulance, police and fire.  Calling 9-1-1 should only be used when an immediate response is required.

Is there a cost?

When you call 911 (or someone calls for you) to ask for an ambulance to take you to a hospital:

  • If you are taken to an acute care hospital (by ground or air ambulance), you will receive a bill for $80 from the BC Ambulance Service.
  • If you decline the ambulance service, you will receive a bill for $50.
  • If you receive Income Assistance or MSP Premium Assistance, you will not be charged.
  • The information above does not apply to calls that are part of current or future WorkSafeBC claims.

Transportation to a medical appointment or service from your home

It is your responsibility to organize and pay for your trip from your private residence to the appointment or service, even if it means travelling outside of your community.  Services in your community may be available to support your transportation needs.

Transportation between hospitals and facilities

You may need to travel from one hospital to another hospital in a different community for treatment or service.  Note: after receiving care, you may be discharged from a hospital outside of your community.  If you are well enough to travel by private or commercial vehicle, it is your responsibility to organize and pay for your trip, even if you are a long way from home.

Transportation between hospitals:

  • If you require medical care: You will need to travel by ground or air ambulance (as appropriate).  There is no charge for medical transfers between hospitals for patients with BC Medical Service Plan (MSP coverage).  Patients without MSP coverage will be billed for transfers within BC.
  • If you are well enough to travel by private or commercial transport (e.g., private vehicle, bus, or plane): You are responsible for organizing and paying for your journey. Services in your community may be available to support your transportation.

Is there a cost?

The fees outlined are for patients whose medical needs qualify them for a medical transport.  Patients without a medical need are responsible to make their own arrangements home at their cost. Learn more about patient transportation fees.

When you leave the hospital

You are responsible for your own transportation home (to a private residence, residential care facility, etc.) when you leave the hospital, even if you are a long way from home.  Your costs will depend on how much medical supervision you need.

  • If you require medical care: You will need to travel by ground or air ambulance (as appropriate) and will be charged $80 (fee waived if on Income Assistance or MSP Premium Assistance).  Patients without MSP coverage may be subject to a non-subsidized fee.
  • If you do not require Medical Care, but are not well enough to travel by private or commercial transport (e.g., private vehicle, bus or plane): The hospital may recommend that you use a contracted local patient transfer service (Medi-Van, etc.). You will be charged $60 for this service (fee waived if on Income Assistance or MSP Premium Assistance). If there is no contracted local provider in your area, the hospital may recommend you use an ambulance for transport and will be charged $80.
  • If you are well enough to travel by private or commercial transport (e.g., private vehicle, bus or plane): You are responsible for organizing and paying for your journey home, even if you are a long way from home. Community services may be available to support your transportation needs.

For example, if you have been transferred by air ambulance to Kelowna hospital for cardiac services or surgery, and you are discharged from there, it is your responsibility to organize and pay for your trip home.

Some health authorities have travel assistance programs in place for those who require them. For information contact the social worker at your hospital.

In the unfortunate circumstance that a family member passes away while in hospital, the family is responsible for organizing and paying to have the deceased returned home. The social worker on the unit can help support the family at this time.

Other options

When you’re discharged, you may need to coordinate your trip home. Below are a few options available to you.

Non-Medical Transfer Options
A listing of non-IH related transportation options

Ministry of Social Development - Income Assistance Program
1-866-866-0800 (press #3)

Ministry of Health - Medical Service Plan (MSP)
1-800-663-7100

MSP Premium Assistance Program
1-800-663-7100 

Medical Travel Accomodation Listing
Hotel accomodation for patients requiring out-of-town medical services and their accompanying family members. See more travel & accomodation assistance.

 

 

MoH     PCQO