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Transportation to Dialysis
Making plans to travel to and from dialysis can be a stress for patients and their families. Many communities have services available to assist with medical transportation (at a cost). Families may assist with transportation and some patients may be able to drive themselves.
Cost of Transportation
For some patients/families, covering the cost of transportation causes a financial hardship. Some community organizations providing transportation support have subsidies available to offset costs. In addition, you may be eligible for short-term financial assistance through the Renal Program or the Kidney Foundation.
Income Tax deductions
For patient’s traveling more than 40 km one way to dialysis, you are able to claim your travel expenses. At income tax time you can request a print out of your appointments attended. In addition, once you are on dialysis, you are also eligible to apply for a disability tax credit. Your social worker can provide you with an application for the disability tax credit.
Reduced Rate Parking Pass
If you or a support person is driving you to dialysis, you are eligible to receive a reduced rate parking pass ($20.00 per month + a refundable deposit for the card). There is no charge for parking at the Kidney Care Centre, Westmount Shopping Centre.
Your Dialysis Social Worker
Although arranging transportation is your responsibility, your dialysis social worker is available to provide you with information and to assist you in deciding on the best option(s) for you. They are able to provide information on transportation resources in your home community. They are also available to discuss financial concerns and to assist you in determining your eligibility for assistance.
The onset of chronic kidney disease and the possible need for dialysis frequently disrupts personal and family situations and can cause devastating financial strain. The burden of kidney disease and dialysis can lead to reduction in employment and to many financial stressors.
People often find that transportation for dialysis is a drain on resources; a drain on physical resources, emotional resources, social and practical resources, caregiver resources and financial resources.
This is a list of some of the options that might be applicable to you. Your Renal Social Worker can be a good source of helping you understand the financial impact of transportation to and from dialysis and can help you understand the financial assistance that might apply to your specific situation.
The Kidney Foundation will provide subsidy for transportation to and from dialysis treatments at a rate of $6.00 (round trip) per treatment to a maximum of $72.00/month. Your social worker will complete a financial application to be submitted to the Kidney Foundation for review. Assistance is short term, for a period of up to four months.
First Nations and Innuit Services will cover travel costs providing the patient has an official Band number.
Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) does provide funding for some eligible recipients for the cost of transportation. The patient/family must contact DVA, who will request confirmation of attendance for dialysis treatment be completed by the treatment team. If transportation is provided by a local nonprofit transportation program or voyageur, direct billing can be arranged.
Ontario Works (OW)/Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) will provide financial assistance to those eligible to cover the cost of medical transportation. The patient must contact OW or ODSP to request the necessary forms, which need to be completed by the most appropriate medical professional to secure financial coverage. Patients will receive mileage, if they are driving themselves to dialysis, or a lump sum at the end of each month to cover the cost of transportation. The patient is expected to pay the community service provider directly with money they receive on their check from OW or ODSP. Occasionally OW or ODSP will agree to set up a direct billing agreement with a community service provider.
ODSP Extended Health Benefits for those over age 65. If a patient turns 65 while in receipt of ODSP, he/she can apply for extended health benefits through ODSP. This should be initiated about 6 months prior to turning age 65 – at the same time as he/she is applying for Old Age Security (OAS) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
Private Medical Insurance – Extended Health Benefits. Depending on the patient’s extended health care plan, medical transportation may be covered. The patient can explore this option by contacting their service provider.
Subsidies through local nonprofit transportation programs. If financial issues are identified, subsidies may be available through the community transportation provider. The patient can inquire about available subsidies and request an assessment if these are available.