Nunavut Post

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

No-show medical travelers cost Nunavut taxpayers $1M a year

Nunavut

Key takeaways: 

  • In 2020-21, one in eight individuals didn’t show up for a flight.
  •  Nunavummiut who aren’t showing up for their medical trip flights are costing taxpayers $1million each year. 

According to the health minister, Nunavummiut, who are not showing up for their medical journey flights are costing taxpayers $1 million per year.

On Tuesday, John Main revealed to the Nunavut Legislature that nearly 5,000 people missed their medical trip flights in the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

Each time someone doesn’t show up, the airline bills the government $200 for the no-show, Main stated. One in every eight medical travelers missed their planes the previous year.

The topic appeared as Main was being probed in question period Tuesday by Amittuq MLA Joelie Kaernerk. Their members have complained that the health unit offers as little as one hour of information for a medical travel flight.

“It’s unacceptable for the medical travel [team] to inform patients that they have one hour to pack your bags and go to the airport,” Kaernerk later informed CBC News.

Also read: Jennifer Jones and team dividing up at the end of the season

No-show medical travelers cost Nunavut taxpayers $1M a year

He said his constituents are uncertain about declining the appointment because it can sometimes take months to get another one. But when they get the call, they may have other duties on the go.

“It’s a last-minute decision they have to take. This has been going on for quite a while. This has to be sorted out.”

Specialty appointments and revocations

Main said sometimes; the medical travel team can’t offer more notice for travelers, especially for specialty appointments.

Nunavut’s healthcare system lacks an array of specialized physicians, like orthopedic surgeons or ophthalmologists. So these physicians will travel to Iqaluit for a fixed period to visit as many patients as possible.

Main said when there are revocations; health staff runs to fill the appointment slot with someone on the waitlist, indicating those calls to fly someone in from another neighborhood may come on short notice.

Source – cbc.ca

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