Danica Pettipas has spent the higher a part of the final three weeks battling COVID-19 and following an prolonged hospital keep is being billed greater than $400 in ambulance charges.
The 30-year-old Dartmouth resident is questioning why the federal government gained’t foot the invoice for the ambulance charges, whereas it’s protecting the charges for different COVID-19 sufferers through the third wave.
“I emailed EHS on Might 3 relating to some questions I had,” stated Pettipas, who’s now recovering from the virus at residence. “They lastly bought again to me this morning, two weeks later, saying, sadly, Might 1 and on will solely be waived for ambulance payments.”
It was April 23 when Pettipas thought she would possibly die at residence from COVID-19. Her oxygen ranges had been dangerously low. She referred to as the Halifax Infirmary COVID-19 unit and was directed to name 911.
Three days later, Pettipas was moved from the COVID-19 unit right into a restoration hospital in Halifax however in a single day her signs worsened and she or he needed to be taken by ambulance again to the COVID-19 unit.
In all, she has acquired 4 payments for ambulance journeys, three of which she is on the hook to pay as a result of they occurred earlier than Might 1.
“I simply don’t really feel prefer it’s honest and for those who try to get well from COVID, we shouldn’t must cope with this on high of it,” stated Pettipas. “It’s simply not honest.”
On Might 3, the province introduced it could waive ambulance charges for Nova Scotians in COVID-19 emergencies. This got here as lively case numbers had been spiking within the central area and hospitalizations had been reaching ranges unseen earlier than within the pandemic.
To this point six folks have died from COVID-19 through the third wave. It’s been reported that a minimum of two folks have died at residence.
Pettipas believes her ambulance charges from late April also needs to be lined below the provincial mandate, as she grew to become unwell through the onset of the third wave.
Pettipas works as an important retail employee at a pet meals retailer and makes minimal wage. She’s nonetheless unable to return to work and is now searching for employment insurance coverage to assist cowl her prices of residing.
“I’m nonetheless recovering and I nonetheless have a protracted strategy to go,” stated Pettipas. There’s not some huge cash to spare presently.
She reached out to her MLA, Claudia Chander, for assist after she acquired a letter saying her ambulance charges gained’t be lined.
Chender says Nova Scotians shouldn’t must pay ambulance charges, particularly throughout COVID-19.
“If you will be certain that individuals are capable of name an ambulance, and usually are not penalized for contracting COVID, significantly important staff, then there shouldn’t be a timeframe on that,” stated Chender.
The NDP has tabled a invoice below the Emergency Well being Companies Act, prohibiting the charging of charges to people who’re unwell and wish ambulance providers to entry medical assist.
“This isn’t an remoted incident and it’s not a COVID-specific scenario,” stated Chender. “We’ve individuals who have approached us and MLAs from throughout the province, on a regular basis, as a result of folks can’t pay their ambulance charges.”
Chender stated she’s reached out to the Division of Well being and Wellness relating to Pettipas’s case with the hope the federal government will take away the time restrict and never cost any Nova Scotians who referred to as for an ambulance for COVID-19 causes.
The division declined a request for an interview however a spokesperson stated in an announcement that “the choice to waive charges was primarily based on a public well being concern for COVID-19 optimistic people or presumptive optimistic people not utilizing EHS providers on account of monetary boundaries thus inflicting threat to their well being.”
“Might 1st was outlined as the beginning date,” learn the assertion. “As that’s when public well being started to see this situation whereas doing case investigations and as our optimistic COVID-19 circumstances climbed.”
There’s an ambulance price help program, however Pettipas says this comes all the way down to precept, arguing no one ought to be issued an ambulance invoice for COVID-19.
“I’m not simply preventing for me,” stated Pettipas. “I’m preventing for everyone else too.”
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