No News Isn’t Good News

Authority BC Emergency Health Services

Shortly after Lisa and her family moved from Ontario to Prince George, an emergency saw Lisa’s husband Shane taken by ground ambulance to the local hospital and then by air ambulance to Vancouver for specialized care. Because Shane’s BC Medical Services Plan coverage would not begin until the following month he did not qualify for the subsidized rate for ambulance services.

Feeling overwhelmed by the unexpected cost, Lisa applied for a waiver of the ambulance fees. Lisa did not receive a response to her application. When she received a collections notice in the mail, Lisa assumed her application had been rejected and she contacted us.

Our investigation determined that Lisa’s application for fee remission had actually been approved and the debt written off. We suggested BC Emergency Health Services write to Lisa with the good news. BCEHS agreed and we confirmed with Lisa that the whole $6100 bill was erased.

We questioned why Lisa was not informed of the decision when it was made and we were told that applicants for ambulance fee remission were notified only if their applications were denied. It seemed to us that applicants would reasonably expect to be informed of the outcome of their application. In response to our investigation, BCEHS agreed to change practice so that applicants would be informed of the outcome either way.

Category Health
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2015
Location The North