Delays in finding hospital beds-not only a challenge in Ontario.
While delays in finding hospital beds has been a longstanding challenge in the travel assistance industry, this year has been particularly difficult due to a severe influenza season. As a result, many out-of-province patients have had problems receiving health care in their own province. Media stories of stranded Ontario residents prompted public concern and a call to action from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Key players in the travel assistance industry, including Active Care Management (ACM), and Orion have clarified the gaps in the current system, providing feedback and recommendations to the Ministry of Health to help resolve this critical issue. The industry is working with the provinces to improve and create accountability in the current bed search process. Our industry’s efforts have prompted government action: a temporary escalation process has been implemented while a long-term solution is developed. In Ontario, Ministry officials can now be contacted by travel assistance teams to procure a bed when significant roadblocks arise. This is the first step in addressing a complex issue, but these immediate changes should give travelers and their loved ones peace of mind when they travel and need emergency medical assistance.