7 Healthy Freebies
Timothy Lee, Waterloo Qualicare Franchise owner, discusses the different homecare options available for your loved ones.
We like to think our [Canadian] Healthcare is free but we know it’s not. When were prescription contact lenses free? After the ambulance came, didn’t a bill come in the mail? What pharmacy doesn’t charge a dispensing free? How much did you pay for the hospital’s parking lot? Is staying at Freeport free?
Everyone dealing with a health crisis discovers the system is filled with users fees and limitation. It’s confusing. But there’s good news. The network of health services is also filled with a support network of free services.
The most important free service is Community Care Access Centres (CCAC). While most government services have government sounding names (OHIP, OPP, MTO), CCAC operates locally, but is very much attached to Ontario’s Public Service.
CCAC staff are the arms and legs of Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care as put forth by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. CCAC’s missions is to deliver public health services to individuals in their home. Homecare is a provide-wide priority because hospitals are overburdened, underfunded, and patients would prefer to be home anyways.
The costs savings for homecare are staggering. A 2011 study highlighted the average cost to the province for a patient to stay in a hospital bed is $842/day compared to $42/day to stay at home. The province wants patients to stay in their home, and 88% of all patients would prefer homecare as well.
The best news is CCAC is free to everyone with a valid Ontario Health Card. You won’t be turned away.
Other service providers also offer free or subsidized services. These include the Assisted Devices Program, Independent Living Centers, Disability Tax Credits, Veteran’s Independence Program and other charitable organizations including March of Dimes and Easter Seals. However, unlike CCAC, each of these programs have different guidelines. Each patient’s situation is different and what is available (free or subsidized) varies case by case.
The good news is there are free services but it just may take some work to find them. As with everything related to your health care, ask questions, get involved, and don’t rush. There are lots of options and everyone is trying to help.