The average patient spends three (3) to five (5) days in the hospital. Patients do better at home with the right supports in place once they no longer require hospital-level care. It’s important to plan for your discharge as soon as you are admitted to the hospital. Most patients are discharged from the Health Centre by 10:00 a.m. We recommend that you arrange for a family member or friend to take you home.
The patient, family member or substitute decision maker (SDM) is responsible for arranging and paying for patient transportation if needed upon discharge or during the patient’s stay, unless transportation is determined by the physician to be medically necessary (e.g. transportation between facilities for treatment or diagnostics; transportation of critically ill or unstable patients who require a nurse, emergency medical attendant or other primary care provider en route).
Non-emergency or non-medically necessary patient transportation includes transportation to:
Long-term care facility
Home or residence for psychiatric patients
Transportation to appointments booked prior to admission
Transportation to another facility for non-medically necessary procedures or uninsured services (the patient, family member or SDM must arrange for transportation to and from the appointment)
The patient, family member or substitute decision maker (SDM) will be advised of their transfer options, which include: family member, taxi, Handi-Van, Home at Last, or one of several non-urgent transfer services.
PRHC is not able to hold a patient bed to accommodate late travel arrangements. The social worker and/or charge nurse will work with the patient to support a smooth transition.
Upon discharge, the patient will be asked to wait in the unit lounge until their transportation arrives. If a patient cannot wait safely in the lounge and transportation has not been arranged to accommodate the discharge time, PRHC can arrange transportation at the patient’s expense.
PATIENT ACCOUNTS & BILLING
During your stay, you may incur some additional costs that are not covered by OHIP or other insurance. When this happens, the hospital will keep track of the charges and bill you when you are discharged to go home. Usually these are charged to your credit card number, which is taken at the time of admission.
The following list is not complete, but includes some of the expenses not covered by OHIP:
Upgrades to private or semi-private rooms
Equipment (e.g. crutches, air cast boots, walkers)
Ambulance services and patient transfers
Cosmetic surgery and other procedures not covered by OHIP
PAYING YOUR BILL
Patient bills can be paid at the cashier’s office located on Level 4 inside Admitting at the main entrance. You may pay by cash, cheque or credit card. You can also pay your bill online or by phone by calling 705-743-2121 x.3111. The cashier’s office is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
After-hours patient bill payments can be made at Switchboard on Level 3, next to the Emergency Department. When paying a patient bill at Switchboard, you must have a copy of your invoice with you.
Why am I unable to wait for an ambulance to take me back to my long-term care facility or nursing home?
The Ministry of Health (MOH) states that ambulances should only be used to transport patients in an unstable medical condition who require a medical escort and the use of a stretcher. If you have both a valid Ontario Health Card, and an emergency, life-threatening or urgent situation, a paramedic or ambulance is medically necessary. The MOH regulates that if an ambulance is used when it is not medically necessary, there will be a charge of $240. If you are in a stable medical condition, we can recommend other, less expensive modes of transportation.
Can I simply wait for the ambulance and pay the $240 fee?
When an ambulance is used to transfer a patient from one facility to another, it means that fewer ambulances are available in the community for emergency calls. Ambulance transfers for non-urgent situations are not reliable and they may not come at an arranged time. The first priority for ambulance services will always be emergencies. If they fail to come at the required time, the inpatient bed you are in may not be available for an acutely ill patient waiting in the Emergency Department. There is also no guarantee that you will have a daytime transfer. Daytime transfers help your long-term care facility or home care staff and others settle you into your surroundings.
I believe I am medically unstable and need a medical escort. Will I have to wait for an ambulance?
The decision as to whether transportation by ambulance is medically necessary will be made by the physician and care team.
Why was my trip to the hospital covered, but my return to a long-term care facility isn’t covered?
When you came to the hospital, you were coming for services that were medically necessary. At the time, you were assessed by your facility to be in an unstable medical condition. Therefore, there was no charge for the ambulance. When you are discharged from the hospital to return to your place of residence you will be in stable medical condition. Because an ambulance is not required, the trip is not covered.
Why will the hospital not cover the cost for my transportation home or back to the long-term care facility?
The hospital is not funded to provide transportation for patients unless it is medically necessary. Once discharged from the hospital, the patient incurs their own costs to return to their residence.
What if I cannot afford the cost of the transportation?
There are a number of transportation services available in the community to assist you. Our social workers can be a helpful resource for alternative patient transportation resources and will assist you.
I need help and I have no-one to assist me in arranging transportation.
Our social workers are knowledgeable about your transportation options and can help arrange an appropriate option for you.
Will PRHC pay for inpatient transportation to medical appointments?
The hospital will pay for transportation when the appointment is related to ongoing medical care. If the patient is stable and ambulatory, family or a substitute decision maker are encouraged to transport the patient.
How do I pay for transportation services?
The transportation services should be booked directly by you, and payment arrangements should be made directly with the transportation provider.