Skip to main content

Travel & accommodation assistance

Assistance with transportation and lodging associated with medical appointments and treatment may be available for patients and their families. Please refer to the following resources:

Airlines often have services for people flying and who have special requirements including the need for a companion when traveling. Please contact the specific airline for information.‎

 

The BC Bus Pass Program is available for low income seniors and persons with disabilities from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. A BC Bus Pass is a Compass Card pass that can be used on both BC Transit and TransLink systems throughout the province. HandyDart is not included in this program. 

VCH communities serviced by TransLink or BC Transit include: Bella Coola, Brackendale, Burt Bridge, Firvale, Four Mile House, Garibaldi Highlands, Gibsons, Glacierview, Gower Point, Hagensborg, Halfmoon Bay, Lund, Metro Vancouver, Mount Currie, Pemberton, Pemberton Valley, Powell River, Roberts Creek, Saltery Bay, Sea to Sky, Sechelt, Shelter Point, Sliammon, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, Texada, Valleycliffe, Vananda, Whistler, Xit'Olacw.

For more information, visit the BC Bus Pass Program webpage or call 1-866-866-0800.

The BC Family Residence Program provides accommodation assistance to enable families to stay together when their child requires medical care at BC Children's Hospital or Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, including premature babies and newborns with other health concerns. Enhanced travel assistance is also provided through air transportation for patients of all ages.‎

 

BC Ferries provides assistance for people with disabilities, assured loading cards and is a part of the Travel Assistance Program (TAP).

Medical Assured Loading (MAL) is a BC Ferries program offered for eligible patients who need to travel to and/or from a critical medical appointment by personal vehicle

Individuals (and spouses if required as medical escort) may be eligible for assistance with treatment travel costs through their private extended health benefit plans.

 

Health Benefits provides medical transportation benefits to support clients accessing medically necessary health services not available in their community of residence. Eligible clients may be provided with funding for meals, accommodation, and transportation as required.

 

If you have been certified by a qualified medical practitioner as experiencing a permanent impairment of mobility to such an extent that the use of public transportation would be hazardous, you may quality for the Fuel Tax Refund for Persons with Disabilities if you own or lease a vehicle.

 

HandyDART is a door-to-door, shared ride service for passengers with physical or cognitive disabilities who are unable to use conventional public transit without assistance. It is available in Metro Vancouver and some rural communities including Powell RiverSquamish, and the Sunshine Coast.‎

 

Health Connections is a health authority-based regional travel assistance program that offers subsidized transportation options to help defray costs for rural residents who must travel to obtain non-emergency, physician-referred medical care outside their home communities.

Health authorities, through funding from the Ministry of Health, have implemented Health Connections programs to meet the unique needs of selected communities in their regions.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) focuses its Health Connections funding on the Central Coast and Bella Coola Valley. Bella Coola Valley Health Services has established a local HandyDART bus service in the Bella Coola Valley to provide transportation to medical appointments, adult day programs, foot clinics, etc.

In addition, Bella Coola Valley Health Services covers 100 percent of medically required air travel for patients from the Central Coast through purchase of discounted tickets with Pacific Coastal Airlines. Escorts are required to pay for their own transportation.

The Medical Transportation Program provides supplementary benefits intended to ensure that eligible Heiltsuk Health Centre clients have access to medically-required services not available within the community. It is not intended to cover all costs that may be associated with a client's medical condition and travel requirements.

In order to determine eligibility for medical transportation benefits for a specialist appointment, the client must provide the following documentation: a referral from a GP, family physician or other health professional, and confirmation of appointment from the health provider/health facility. 

For more information, please contact patient transportation manager Barbara Larsen at barbaral@heiltsukhealth.com or 250-957-2308 extension 207.

Hope Air is a non-profit organization that helps low-income earners with the cost of flights for those who need to travel out of area for medical appointments. See their website for details and application process.

 

The Medical Travel Accommodation Listing offers accommodation at discounted rates to patients requiring out-of-town medical services and their accompanying family members. The patient and their family member are responsible for the total room cost.

Once at the webpage, enter the name of the city where you want to stay and you will receive a list of available accommodation. When you book a room, be sure to request a medical rate.

The Ministry of Health TAP offers travel discounts to eligible BC residents who must travel for non-emergency medical appointment not available in their own community and whose travel expenses are not covered by third party insurance or other government programs.

To be eligible, you must be a BC resident and enrolled in the Medical Services Plan (MSP); you must have a physician's referral for medical services that are not available locally, escorts are also eligible if traveling with those incapable of independent travel. TAP forms are available from your family doctor, specialist's office, or a cancer centre.

Phone: 604-683-7151 (Vancouver)

Toll-free:1-800-663-7100 (elsewhere in BC)

People who are the registered vehicle owner (or if you lease the vehicle), have a permanent disability and are considered handicapped under the Motor Fuel Tax Act, may be eligible for a 25% discount on basic Autoplan. Applicant must have a Motor Fuel Tax claim number when applying for insurance discount.  Limit of $400 per year could be claimed. Visit the Disability discount page at ICBC.com for more information.

 
SOURCE: Travel & accommodation assistance ( )
Page printed:

Copyright © Vancouver Coastal Health. All Rights Reserved.