Your rights when accessing medical transportation services

A message from Dr. Unjali Malhotra, Office of the FNHA Chief Medical Officer; and Paul Clairmont, Manager of FNHA Medical Transportation Programs

If you are First Nations in BC and live on reserve, you may have the opportunity to travel outside of your community for medical care, as some important medical services may not be available. be accessible where you live.

When accessing medical transportation services, you should know that confidentiality – complete confidentiality regarding your personal health information – is your right as a patient and you should never feel pressured to provide appointment details. you medical or procedure to which you are being transported. .

All health centers should have privacy and confidentiality policies that protect your personal health information. These rights apply when using the medical transport service (MT).

The MT benefit helps all First Nations people access medical care by helping them pay for the costs associated with transportation, accommodation and food needed to get to your medical appointment.
You can access the MT benefit if you are traveling to receive the following services:
  • Medical services covered by Medicare (MSP) or a public health agency
  • Services eligible under the Health Benefits Program, e.g. ex. dental care, vision care, etc.
  • Traditional healers
  • Treatment at an FNHA-funded facility for substance abuse

To apply for the MT benefit, you will be asked to provide certain information:

Before your trip:

  • Provide written confirmation of your appointment from the health care provider you are visiting.
  • Complete and submit the Health Benefits Medical Transportation Form at least five business days prior to your trip.
  • Work with your patient travel clerk to receive travel arrangements.

After your trip:
It is important to note that you should never be asked to disclose the procedure, your diagnosis, or any test results. The only time it may be necessary to disclose the reason for your trip is if you are flying to an appointment and you are not vaccinated and are requesting a medical exemption from the vaccination passport.


Medical exemption

A Federal Immunization Passport Medical Exemption may be granted while traveling for essential medical care, which refers to appointments booked to receive medical services that are important to saving lives and improving health outcomes.

Travelers who believe they may be eligible for this type of temporary exemption should:

  • access the form through their airline, cruise or rail company
  • have it signed by a Canadian licensed physician or nurse practitioner
  • submit the form two weeks prior to departure and in accordance with the airline or rail company’s exemption approval process.

If you are traveling with more than one company, you will need to contact each of them. If you receive approval for a temporary exemption, you will also be required to present a valid COVID-19 test prior to boarding.

Health centers do not need to know the reason for your appointment and you have the right to keep it confidential and private and continue to receive the MT benefit. For example, BC Women’s Hospital provides individuals with written confirmation of the date and time of the appointment that the traveler will receive a procedure, but does not specify what that procedure is in order to respect client privacy.

​We know that traveling for care can be stressful, and we want to address all of your concerns to make your journey to and from your appointment as easy as possible. If you cannot travel, you can call the First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day as well as the Mother and Baby Advice Line; the healthcare providers at these services will answer your questions and address your concerns. The Average Risk Screening Chart is also a useful tool for determining when to schedule your next health care appointment.

To access the MT benefit, contact the Patient Travel Clerk in your community or call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.


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