The Manitoba government is reducing ambulance fees across the province effective Jan. 1, 2017, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.
“People have told us ambulance fees in Manitoba are too high and we have heard these concerns,” said Goertzen. “We are taking the first steps to reduce ambulance fees and help make this important service more affordable for Manitobans.”
Billings to Manitobans for ambulance services will be reduced to either $475 or the pre-existing base fee established by the service provider, whichever is lower. In addition, all surcharges must be removed including kilometre fees.
Examples of the fee reductions if costs are billed to the individual include:
Winnipeg – a decrease to $475 from an average of $522;
the former Assiniboine region of Prairie Mountain Health – a decrease to $475 from $530;
the former Parkland region of Prairie Mountain Health – the elimination of a $3-per-kilometre fee;
City of Thompson – a decrease to $475 from $500 and the elimination of a flat rate of $800 for trips longer than 100 km; and
Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority – the elimination of a $3-per-kilometre fee.
Ambulance services are outside the scope of the Canada Health Act and costs are the responsibility of the patient in jurisdictions across the country. In Manitoba, land ambulance services are delivered by a combination of providers including regional health authorities and other service providers under agreement with regional health authorities such as municipalities or First Nation communities.
Ambulance fees vary by the regional health authority, community or municipality offering the service and are used to offset the costs of operations. Fees to clients represent approximately 50 per cent of the cost of operations, with the remainder of costs subsidized by the province and other organizations.
The province already provides coverage for certain ambulance services including:
inter-facility transfers between health-care facilities;
the Northern Patient Transportation Program, which subsidizes medically necessary transportation for residents in the north;
helicopter transportation to patients requiring critical and emergent care within a 250-km radius of Winnipeg; and
the Lifeflight Air Ambulance program, which provides specialized inter-facility transport for critically ill or injured Manitoba residents who live further than 200 km from Winnipeg.
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living has formed a working group with representatives from the regional health authorities to continue to implement a commitment to reduce current average ambulance fees of $500 by 50 per cent over four years.