Editor's note: The following is an open letter from Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas to Minister of Health Christine Elliott.
I am writing to you today to draw your attention to the long waits my constituents are experiencing with the Northern Health Travel Grant (NHTG) payments.
Many people have reached out to me because of the hardships those delays in payments are having on their families. For all of them, it has been at least 12 weeks since they have submitted their claims.
Some constituents who are required to see specialists frequently are carrying the full cost of their travel into their second or third appointments as their claims sit unpaid.
I think you will agree with me that three- to four-month delays, for your ministry to pay outstanding Northern Health Travel Grants, are unacceptable.
The NHTG program was set up to ease the financial burden of Northerners having to travel away from one’s home community for medical reasons. These increased wait times add stress for families and patients that are often dealing with complex health issues that cannot be diagnosed or treated in their communities.
Both of us know that additional stresses on a patient leads to worse health outcomes. The Ministry of Health should provide care to patients, not cause them stress.
Minister, what can your Ministry do to decrease the times that my constituents, and citizens across the North, have to wait to be paid their NHTG?
MPP, Nickel Belt