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6.0 Program Overview

Health related travel is a supplementary benefit authorized pursuant to the Veterans Health Care Regulations (VHCR). Only clients who receive treatment benefits referred to in paragraphs 4(a) or (b) of the Regulation are eligible for the supplementary benefits related thereto. The applicable treatment benefits consist of the following:

  1. any medical, surgical, or dental examination or treatment provided by a health professional;
  2. the provision of any surgical or prosthetic device or any aid approved by the Minister, the maintenance of the device or aid and any home adaptation that are necessary to accommodate or facilitate its use;

As stated in Section 6 of the VHCR, the supplementary benefits are comprised of the following:

  • the costs of travel incurred by the client who travels to receive those treatment benefits listed in bullets 1 or 2 above;
  • the costs of travel incurred by an escort, where the client's health needs are such that the client needs to be accompanied by an escort and;
  • the remuneration of this escort if this person is not the spouse or common-law partner or a dependant of the client or any other member of the client's household.

Travel costs for which the client or escort may be reimbursed include the following:

  • transportation by the most convenient and economical means of transportation appropriate to the condition of the client

    • where the client is a resident in Canada, between the client's residence and the appropriate treatment centre nearest to that residence; and
    • where the client is a resident in a country other than Canada, between the client's point of entry into Canada and the appropriate treatment centre nearest to that point;
  • transportation between the treatment centre and the accommodations mentioned below;
  • meals; and
  • standard commercial sleeping accommodations that are conveniently located in respect of the treatment centre, or private accommodations.

Where transportation is a private automobile (other than a taxi), whether belonging to the client or otherwise, the costs of travel are payable at the rate applicable to federal public servants who have requested to use their own cars, plus two cents per kilometer; and include the cost of parking while the client is at the treatment centre. Where transportation is a taxi, $5 will be deducted from the costs of travel for each trip (Pursuant to subsection 34(2) of the VHCR).

These supplementary benefits are provided to clients who have "A" coverage or "B" coverage, defined as follows:

  • "A" Coverage - VAC is the first payer for benefits and services for a client's pensioned condition or disability award with the exception of serving members of the Canadian Forces where treatment benefits for a pensioned condition are available to the extent they are not available to them as members or former members of the Canadian Forces.
  • "B" Coverage - for benefits and services not related to a pension condition, the client is required to access benefits and services from their province of residence or private insurance before accessing benefits and services from VAC.

Program Delivery:

Clients complete a claim for reimbursement of their health related travel costs. This claim is reviewed and approved and submitted for payment (processed) by designated VAC staff in the district and regional offices. Once a claim has been completed and prepared for data entry, the claim is forwarded to a third party contractor, where it is entered into FHCPS and a cheque is issued to the client.

Travel expenses are reimbursed if the travel was necessary for the client to obtain a service provided by a health professional. For the time period of travel, correct frequencies and rates must be entered for kilometers, meal allowances, escort fees. All claimed amounts must be supported by appropriate documentation and receipts, and the health related expense travel claim must be entered in the Client Service Delivery Network (CSDN).

Clients must provide proof of attendance at a medical appointment. If no confirmation of appointment is provided, the claim must be returned to the client with a letter requesting the necessary information. Travel time to and from appointments must be noted to determine entitlement to reimbursement for meal costs.

Travel expenses (supported by receipts where necessary) are paid when transportation is in a mode appropriate to the client's health condition and by the most convenient and economical means and travel is to the nearest appropriate treatment centre in the service area closest to the client. Clients are free to use any health professional they choose, however, their travel expenses will be reimbursed for travel to the nearest appropriate treatment centre. The district office (DO) may be consulted in exceptional circumstances and their decision and rationale must be noted in CSDN Client Notes.

Table 2 : health related travel Summary Totals - FHCPS health related travel Transactions
Trans = Transactions, Exp = Expenditures
Fiscal
Year
Number of
health related travel
Trans
health related travel Exp Average Exp
per Client
Number of Trans
for "A" Clients
Exp
for "A" Clients
Number of Trans
for "B" Clients
Exp
for "B" Clients
2006-2007 482460 $17,924,837 $740.50 261625 $10,049,071 220837 $7,903,540
2007-2008 457239 $16,416,994 $718.06 271840 $10,100,999 185399 $6,315,994
2008-2009 495226 $18,713,344 $847.49 306115 $11,862,074 189110 $6,851,528

SOURCE: VAC Statistics Directorate.

NOTE: This table does not include health related travel processed through Free Balance, hence the discrepancy between dollar values reported in Table 1 versus Table 2. Also, the table represents the transactions, and not the total number of claims. Any given claim can have one or more transactions.

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