N.S. launches travel assistance pilot program for surgical patients

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The provincial government is launching a pilot program to help with travel and accommodation for eligible, lower-income patients who need surgery.

A release says the program will reduce out-of-pocket costs for those who have to travel within the province for scheduled surgery, or endoscopy or cystoscopy procedures.

That includes the day of their surgery or procedure and some related appointments.

Government says some patients might also get their surgery or procedure more quickly if they can travel to a site with a shorter wait time.

The pilot program will run for one year, starting June 1st.

It will provide reimbursement for accommodation costs of up to $85 per night if travelling more than 50 kilometres one-way, transportation costs at $0.57 per kilometre when using personal vehicles, and transportation and accommodation costs for someone to travel with the patient if necessary.

Eligibility criteria for the program includes a gross family income of less than $35,000 per year and not having private insurance that covers travel or accommodation costs.

Government says about 2,400 patients could be eligible for this pilot program, which is estimated to cost $946,000.