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Cancer patient travel program expanded

Alliance with Hope Air means more flights, increased hotel stays, ground transportation, meal vouchers for rural/remote patients and caregivers
The BC government announced details of its plan to provide $20 million to expand its travel subsidy program to assist cancer patients and their caregivers in rural and remote parts of the province.

The province on Wednesday revealed details of a $20 million plan to expand travel subsidy programs to benefit cancer patients living in rural and remote communities.

The Canadian Cancer Society and Hope Air will each receive $10 million to launch their programs starting Oct. 3.

The funding will allow the Canadian Cancer Society to expand its three programs: the Travel Treatment Fund (TTF), which provides travel grants to patients; the Wheels of Hope program, which matches patients with volunteer drivers; and their four lodges in B.C., which provide accommodation and meals for patients and their caregivers near cancer treatment centres in Prince George, Kelowna, Victoria and Vancouver.

The expanded program will increase the increase the number of accommodation nights for patients and caregivers from 1,500 in 2023 to 3,300 by 2026. The maximum stay for each of those trips will be increased from five nights this year to 14 nights in 2026.

Hope Air will initially provide about 1,000 flights this year and will have sufficient funding to increase flight frequency to 2,500 by 2026.

Daily in-hotel meal voucher which currently provide $40 per day will be boosted to $50 per day for up to 14 days, up from the previous two-day voucher limit at the lower value. The program also provides expanded ground transpartation options.

The limit on the number of caregivers accompanying patents of those flights has been raised. When patients travel on commercial airlines the program will give patients greater flexibility to make flight changes to accommodate medical appointments and related circumstances.

Applications for the program will be accepted retroactively to April 1, 2023. New supports are in place for patients with blood cancers who require bone marrow transplants in Vancouver.

To learn more about B.C.'s cancer travel plan, go to the website.

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