Patient Travel

We'll get you there

Medical Transportation (MT) benefit coverage

If you need to access health services that are not available in your community, you can ask for help to get there. Here are some of the health services that qualify:

  • ​Medical services insured through the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)
  • Publicly-funded diagnostic tests and preventive screening programs
  • Services covered by First Nations Health Benefits (e.g., dental, vision, etc.)
  • Traditional healers
  • Treatment at the nearest appropriate facility in BC funded by or referred to by the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP)

The MT benefit covers the most cost-effective and fastest type of transportation. The type of transportation will depend on how urgent the situation is and what kind of medical condition is being treated.

There is also something called “exceptional coverage” that covers items and services not listed as a benefit. If you want to find out more you can call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.


The paperwork you need

If you would like some help with transportation to a medical appointment or service, please bring the following to Glen Pallen at the Homalco Health Centre:

  • A referral from your doctor
  • A confirmation of the upcoming appointment from the health provider or facility

For eligible, pre-approved MT trips, clients must provide confirmation of attendance (COA)

from the health provider or facility after their appointment. Travel expenses will not be reimbursed without a written COA.


Patient responsibilities

If you receive MT benefits from Health Benefits, please: 

  • Try to give at least five days’ notice before travel, if possible. If it’s too late notice, you might have to pay for your travel out-of-pocket and be reimbursed. Or you may choose to reschedule your appointment.
  • Request prior approval from Health Benefits or Homalco for all non-emergency trips.
  • Attend your appointment as scheduled. The patients who do not go to their appointments might have to pay back any benefits they have received and/or pay for their travel costs the next time.
  • Remember to get a signed or stamped COA from the health professional or facility where you had your appointment. Bring the COA to Health Benefits or Homalco.
  • Remember to keep all of your vouchers from your medical trip because they can’t be replaced if they get lost or stolen. 
  • Remember to give as much notice as possible if you need to cancel an appointment, and at least 24 hours notice if you need to cancel hotel or flight arrangements.
  • Remember to keep all of your original receipts from your trip so you can submit them and get your money back.
  • Threatening or abusive language or behavior used towards patient travel clerks or health providers is unacceptable. If you do so, you might be asked to pay for your travel out-of-pocket and request reimbursement later.



Sometimes you can request an escort who can travel with you. You should meet one or more of the following conditions:

  • You are a minor.
  • You need help with activities of daily living such as dressing, eating, or bathing.
  • You are undergoing a medical procedure (e.g., day surgery) or if you have a medical condition that means you need assistance.
  • You will receive instructions on specific and essential home medical or nursing procedures that someone else needs to hear.
  • You have a language barrier.
  • You are travelling to give birth, including travel to be near medical care while waiting to give birth.

If you qualify to have an escort, please provide the paperwork from your health care provider that supports it. 

Medical Transportation exclusions

Some types of travel don’t qualify for coverage under the MT benefit. Unfortunately you can’t ask for an exception or appeal. The exclusions from MT coverage include, but are not limited to:

  • Getting to a medical appointment when already outside of Canada
  • Compassionate travel (e.g. travelling to visit a family member receiving medical treatment)
  • Payment of fees for a doctor’s note that supports your request for MT benefits
  • Travel back to your community of residence if the you get sick while away from home
  • Travel by patients in the care of a federal, provincial, or territorial institution (e.g., people who are in prison)
  • Travel when necessary medical services are already available where you live
  • Travel to access medical appointments outside of Canada
  • Travel to access non-medically necessary services
  • Travel to access services requested by a third party (e.g. medical exams required for a job or for insurance purposes);
  • Travel to access treatment or an assessment that is court-ordered or a condition of parole
  • Travel to adult day care or respite care
  • Travel to interval or safe houses
  • Travel where the only purpose is to pick up prescriptions, vision care products, or medical supplies and equipment that doesn’t need to be fitted




Key Contacts