The Department of Health and Social Services would like to clarify a few points from last week’s Yukon News article on medevac services (March 4 Ã Flight Nurse Fears Cutbacks Compromise Medevacs).
The story did the public a serious disservice by linking supposed changes in medevac services to the ongoing review of the Yukon Medical Travel program, and by suggesting that the review would impact medevac service.
The two are not linked.
The medevac contract was never within the scope of the review. The decision to send a patient out of the territory for urgent medical care has been and always will be a medical decision.
Health and Social Services provides medical travel for medically necessary services because it is an essential part of ensuring access to health care. Our government’s medical travel program covers the cost of the actual travel, and starting on the second day provides a $75 subsidy towards accommodation or other expenses, for all eligible Yukoners.
It is important to note that medevac service is managed by Community Services through its Emergency Medical Services Branch. The individual who expressed concern about changes to EMS medevacs is a Community Services employee, someone who may not have seen the terms of the federally mandated review.
All three territories are required to review their medical travel programs.
In the Yukon, the review is focusing on processes, policy and referral patterns in order to identify areas for efficiencies. The consultants will look at the administrative processes used by Health and Social Services, and provide advice on such things as better tracking and reporting on medical travel activity, reasons for medical travel and statistics on the type of services patients are receiving Outside. It will enable us to do better planning.
Again, the medical travel review does not include a review of medevac services and is not intended to cut or reduce services for Yukoners.
Patricia Living, communications director
Health and Social Services