I want to take this opportunity to clarify concerns regarding wheelchair fees in residential care homes [$25 barrier another insult, June 13 Opinion TIMES].
Anyone living in their own house or apartment pays for their own wheelchairs, canes, walkers, as well as a variety of other personal use equipment. Despite what some MLAs have stated, similar rules apply for people living in publicly-subsidized long-term residential care. This has been the case for quite some time.
While the public health system covers the cost of medical care, residents of publicly subsidized residential care homes who can afford to cover the cost of personal equipment and supplies do so. The introduction of a wheelchair maintenance fee is consistent with the ministry policy on what fees are allowable in residential care homes.
No one will be denied the use of a wheelchair if they cannot afford a maintenance fee. Health authorities have hardship provisions in place for clients who are unable to afford this fee out of their $325 monthly minimum amount for personal expenses and allowable charges which is one of the highest minimum retained incomes in Canada. This process is done at the time a client enters into a residential care home and every patient is offered the opportunity to apply for hardship. For more information on how apply for hardship, please visit: http://ow.ly/mcm3c
All fees collected will be used to maintain and replace the health authorities fleet of wheelchairs, keeping them safe, in good working order and to assure patient safety. If anyone cannot afford to pay for their wheelchairs, the fee can be waived.
I would also like to take this opportunity to emphasize that B.C. has one of the fairest publicly subsidized residential care systems in the country, where client rates are entirely based on a persons income. The province does not include a persons assets in determining their residential care rate, and makes sure that all residents have income available to pay for any basic comfort needs and charges.
Our government has made home and community care one of our top priorities, and we are committed to providing high quality, consistent, and sustainable care for people needing these services, regardless of where a person lives.
Terry Lake, Minister of Health
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