Medical Travel Assistance Programs

by Aaron Charles
Travel assistance programs span the globe.

Sometimes, when facing a serious illness and requiring treatment, victims of illness or injury must travel a long distance for the treatment they need. This can be expensive and not everyone can afford it. Thus, in observing this situation, programs have been started in states and countries across the world that aid patients in their travel expenses for medical treatment.

National Patient Travel Center

The National Patient Travel Center has been assisting patients with travel expenses since 1991, with a special focus on air travel expenses. Its 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week help line screens callers and refers them to the appropriate air transportation program that best meets their needs. The National Patient Travel Center's stated purpose is to ensure that no patient in need of financial help is denied access to a medical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment due to the expense of distant travel. National Patient Travel Center 4620 Haygood Rd. Suite 1 Virginia Beach, VA 23455 800-296-1217 patienttravel.org

CARES Foundation

The CARES Foundation offers grants covering up to 50 percent of out-of-pocket travel and lodging costs when seeing a foundation-approved medical specialist. These grants are specifically for those with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH). CARES Foundation 2414 Morris Ave. Suite 110 Union, NJ 07083 866-227-3737 caresfoundation.org

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Travel Assistance Program (Canada)

In Canada's British Columbia (BC) province, the Ministry of Health Services (MHS) alleviates some of the transportation costs of eligible BC residents who must obtain non-emergency medical services outside their home community. This is possible through a collaboration between the MHS and private transportation carriers. Travel Assistance Program Medical Services Branch Ministry of Health Services 3-1, 1515 Blanshard St. Victoria, BC V8W 3C8 800-465-4911 health.gov.bc.ca

Transport for Health (Australia)

Transport for Health offers an array of transportation options for those who can't use or have difficulty using public or private transportation, or who are challenged by distance. You must be a resident of New South Wales and meet other specific criteria for qualification. Health Transport Unit IHSC Level 3 Administration and Education Building Blacktown Hospital P.O. Box 6105 Blacktown, NSW 2148 011-02-9881-7507

Donate Air Miles

The American Red Cross offers financial support to those needing financial assistance for medically related travel costs on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the Red Cross collaborates with specified airlines and collects donated frequent-flyer miles, which send relief workers to sick and injured victims in times of disaster, as an alternative to transporting victims immediately to a hospital. Contact information for local chapters of the Red Cross can be found on its website. redcross.org

About the Author

Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."

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