Patient Transportation Fees

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You may need to pay in the event that you are transported by ambulance to a hospital, transferred between hospitals, or when you are discharged from hospital.

Listed below are also some of the travel assistance programs available to you if you need to travel for medical care outside of your community.

With B.C. Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage

Ambulance trips to hospital (911 calls) 

When you call 911 (or someone calls for you) to ask for an ambulance to take you to a hospital:

  • If you are taken to an acute care hospital (by ground or air ambulance), you will receive a bill for $80 from the BC Ambulance Service.
  • If you decline the ambulance service, you will receive a bill for $50.
  • If you receive Income Assistance or MSP Premium Assistance, you will not be charged.
  • The information above does not apply to calls that are part of current or future WorkSafeBC claims.

Hospital to hospital trips

If you must be transferred from your present hospital to another hospital:

  • There is no charge for medically necessary transfers between acute care hospitals. (Note: You will need to make your own travel arrangements to get back home when you leave the hospital, even if you are a long way from home.)

When you leave the hospital 

You are responsible for your own transportation home (private residence, residential care facility, etc.) when you leave the hospital. Your costs will depend on how much medical supervision you need.

  • If you require medical care, you will need to travel by ground or air ambulance (as appropriate) and will be charged $80 (fee waived if on Income Assistance or MSP Premium Assistance).
  • If you do not require medical care but are not well enough to travel on private or commercial transport (e.g., bus, plane), then the hospital may recommend that you use a contracted local patient transfer service (SN Transport, etc.). You will be charged $50 (fee waived if on Income Assistance or MSP Premium Assistance).
  • If you are well enough to travel by private or commercial transport (e.g., bus, plane), you are responsible for organizing and paying for your journey home, even if you are a long way from home. For example, if you have been transferred by air ambulance to a Vancouver hospital for cardiac surgery, and you are discharged from there, it is your responsibility to organize and pay for your trip home. Some health authorities have travel assistance programs in place for those who require them. For information, please see the section on travel assistance for patients travelling to access medical care outside their home community, as some programs are also available to discharged inpatients returning home, or contact a nurse or social worker in the hospital.
  • In the unfortunate circumstance that a family member passes away while in hospital, the family is responsible for organizing and paying to have the deceased returned home. The social worker on the unit can help support the family at this time.

Without MSP coverage

All transfers (e.g., to or from a hospital, between hospitals) will be charged to you if you do not have coverage under MSP.

  • If you require medical care along the way and need an ambulance to transport you, you will receive a bill for each section of your transfer based on the type of transport:
    • Ground: $530 flat rate for each part of the transfer
    • Air ambulance (airplane): $7 per statute mile
    • Air ambulance (helicopter): $2,746 per hour
  • If you do not require medical care during an inter-hospital transfer, the hospital may elect to use a contracted local patient transfer service (SN Transport, etc.). You will be charged $50.
  • If you are well enough to travel by private or commercial transport (e.g., bus, plane) when you leave hospital, it is your responsibility to arrange and pay for your trip, even if you are a long way from home.
  • In the unfortunate circumstance that a family member passes away while in hospital, the family is responsible for organizing and paying to have the deceased returned home. The social worker on the unit can help support the family at this time.

Payment information

(This includes federal programs and private coverage)

  • Federal programs (e.g., Veteran Affairs Canada, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) may cover some of these fees for their clients. You are responsible for checking for possible coverage and reimbursements.
  • If you receive a bill and believe you should not be charged due to being a recipient of Income Assistance or MSP Premium Assistance, please contact the BC Ambulance Service (if ambulance fee) or the health authority (if the bill was sent by the health authority).
  • Some private plans may assist with the costs of patient transportation (e.g., ICBC, WorkSafeBC, private insurer such as Pacific Blue Cross). Please check with your insurer.
  • Some health authorities have hardship policies for supporting patients and their families with these fees. Please contact the Patient Care Quality Office in the health region from where you were discharged to request more information.
  • Some health authorities also have travel assistance programs in place for those who require them. For more information, please see the section on travel assistance for patients travelling to access medical care outside their home community, as some programs are also available to discharged inpatients returning home, or contact a nurse or social worker in the hospital.
  • When you are charged fees, you will receive a bill in the mail from the BC Ambulance Service or from the health authority from where you were transferred.

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